This is the second week of Advent. Each week, four prior to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit for each of the advent themes. This week we consider JOY.
I know “joy” is something in our souls that fills us even when our circumstances are challenging. I have felt joy overflowing when life was favorable, but I have also known joy when things just were not going as I had planned or desired. I think of Joy as being able to expect good things even in bad times.
Joy is that thing that buoys you up when something drags you down. When things are hard, I take joy in knowing God will bring me through. When I don’t understand why someone is hurting, I take joy in the knowledge that God is able to comfort when I can’t and He will be glorified. When deep loss darkens my life, I rest in a quiet joy that God is still in control and He can and will ease the hurt.
I have also known what its like to misplace my joy. I have felt heartache so deep I could not imagine joy. I have battled anger with God, frustrated with His ways not aligning with my way. I have allowed myself to dwell on the hard stuff and stubbornly ignore the things God was trying to show me.
If I am being honest, and I will be, I know exactly how I misplace my joy. Sometimes I tuck God away and fail to spend time seeking Him. It is all too easy to get distracted and miss out on all the evidence of Him in His creation. When I stop reading His Word, my soul looses its thirst for Him. I depend on God for my joy. It is not something I can make myself be, it is something God places in me.
We are currently visiting the historic city of St. Augustine Fl. While reading about the man for whom the city is named, I found a very interesting quotes from St. Augustine, a Christian Bishop and theologian.
He said, “Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible”.
When I read it, for some reason my mind replaced “happy” with “joy” and in the first person
“Indeed, I wish to know joy, even when I live my life as to make joy impossible”
I laughed out loud. I had spent the day praying and thinking about this blog post, and there in a random snippet of local lore, I found myself humbled and challenged. Am I making it possible to know joy? I want to always have the joy of the Lord in my heart, the same joy the angels proclaimed when they announced the birth of Jesus. Jesus is good news of great joy because even in our sin, God was providing a way for us to be free and forgiven. This is the joy that fills us even when life is hard.
On a different note…I think this is a good time to consider another one of St. Augustine’ quotes:
“Learn to dance, so when you get to heaven the angels will know what to do with you!”
Yep, time to untuck my God, chase after His Word and learn how to DANCE with His Joy in my heart.