On the third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle named Joy. From a woman’s point of view, the third trimester of pregnancy is not always greeted with great Joy. Make no mistake, I was happy to be pregnant, but my joy was tainted by an aching back and swollen ankles. When I looked into the mirror, my eyes fastened on my swollen awkward stomach. At this point, I needed hugs from friends, compliments from my husband and gifts of flowers. I needed to be surprised by joy.
By this third week of Advent, I need to be surprised by Joy. I feel as if my Christmas has been invaded by commercialism. Parties, shopping, baking, the busyness has taken over. At these moments, I need children’s Sunday at church, so I can experience the thrill of my ten-year-old granddaughter playing the grand piano at her church. I need to hear the grown-up voice of my sixteen-year-old grandson reading scripture. I need to waken to that first skiff of snow enveloping my world in its sparkling blanket. I need the warmth of an unexpected hug.
Two thousand years ago, God surprised us with a beautiful baby boy. When my Christmas preparations become tarnished, I need to search for that child in the people I meet. I need to remember Mary’s Joy, and my own. We need to light that third candle, and be reminded that God didn’t come to this world only once. God continues to surprise us with Joy, every day.
“ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)