In case you wondered, I’m not very good at that. My first idea for this evening was to work at finishing a project which was meant to be a present (which will be done by Christmas NEXT year). Then I was going to bake cookies. My heartfelt response? MEH!
The only thing that really appealed to me was… nothing.
I sat with my emotions for a while, trying to understand my inner processes. My brain is tired. And my heart is hurting for some of my flock. And I’m praying in anticipation for an answer… that hasn’t been revealed yet. In short, I’m out of sorts. Grumpy. A little preoccupied. Life is in “freeze-frame” and I don’t particularly like it.
This third week of Advent is supposed to be about Joy… and while I understand intellectually and personally what “joy” means, I’m having trouble “feeling” it. There’s enough sucky stuff in the world that is weighing me down. (Yes. I know “Joy is a choice, not a feeling.” And “Joy is a spiritual gift, not a state of mind.” I’ve preached the sermons and done the Greek. I’m being real, here.)
On my walk through the outdoor labyrinth at Dayspring last week, I looked down to see this:
THIS is Joy. Not fireworks or helium balloons or a blast of trumpets (or whatever image that is your vision of Joy.)
Joy is this time of waiting and watching… believing and praying… trusting. And waiting some more.
Joy for me is often a whisper, a hint. It’s a gnat that you can’t quite catch. It’s a lightning bug that rises on a summer night and fades away. It’s the spark in the fireplace, popping and vanishing up the chimney.
Joy is wrapped in the Divine… but it is also trapped in our humanity. And that’s where I am struggling in Advent this year.
27 Notice how the lilies grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these.28 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, how much more will God do for you, you people of weak faith!29 Don’t chase after what you will eat and what you will drink. Stop worrying.30 All the nations of the world long for these things. Your Father knows that you need them.31 Instead, desire his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12: 27-31 CEB