Let God’s Joy Fill Your Heart.
During the third week of Advent we light the candle of Joy. How do we experience Joy in the midst of our tears, in the midst of the chaos of this world?
Joy is God’s gift offered daily, Like any gift, it is not received when we leave it wrapped in its sparkly paper and satin bow sitting on a shelf. God’s gift of Joy requires opening, gazing at the contents, feeling it’s texture, smelling its fragrance, even tasting it’s goodness.
God’s gift of Joy is more than feeling happy. Joy includes satisfaction in the midst of need, peace in the midst of chaos, love in the midst of grief. To experience Joy we let go of self and whatever is filling our minds and hearts at the moment, and let God in. These are high and lofty words. Practical examples bring clarity. Each day this week I will offer you different ways that I receive God’s gift of Joy as catalysts to help you unwrap yours.
Today, I speak of joy in terms of the people I love.
Joy fills my soul, when I stop for a moment and truly look at our beloved teenage granddaughter, asleep on the couch, exhausted from her busy day. At that moment tears of love fill my eyes. Nothing else in the world matters at this moment. For that moment the wonder, the miracle, the blessing that she is for the us, for the world overwhelms me. She is precious. I give thanks to God that she is part of our lives. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.
Joy fills my soul when I cuddle up to my husband Tom seeking the warmth and safety of his body. I listen to him sleep and let go of all expectations, worries, frustrations. I let myself relax and rest in the miracle of our love for each other. For just a few moments nothing else matters. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.
Today, as I contemplate the miracle of friends, I am grieving the death of Howard yesterday. As my heart aches for Shirley, I remember their Grace as they floated around the dance floor. I see Howard’s joy as he step danced competitively, and experience again the wonder of his ability. I feel his hug of friendship at and know that he cared. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.
I look at a picture received on the internet I think taken at the airport showing a crowd of people, black, brown, white, young, old, turbans, hijabs, baseball caps. In their midst is our prime minister and our Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. There must have been security people among them but what protection could they truly offer. The caption on the picture was “This is my Canada”. Yes, joy filled my heart to know the beauty of the Canadian mosaic and the safety of our country – a true miracle in today’s chaotic world. This is peace. This is hope. This is love. This is JOY unwrapped and received.
As you live this week, open your precious gifts of Joy that God offers you in the people that surround you. Write them down to be revisited and cherished.
Let God’s Joy fill your heart.