Third Week of Advent

This is the week of joy. Joy arrives as a gift. Joy bends our way, catching us by surprise. Joy is a kind grace we could never manufacture on our own (at least not any deeply meaningful, sustainable measure of joy).

And yet – joy is not for the faint of heart. It requires courage to be open to joy, courage to receive something so beautiful, something that stirs us so profoundly it causes our soul to tremble. Joy offers a goodness we can not control. We can not guard ourselves from the hope it stirs. We must simply receive.

The refrain (from Psalm 40;4) for today’s midday prayers was most appropriate: Happy are they who trust in the Lord! (and I do love that exclamation point: !) Let’s allow this refrain to be our refrain.

When our soul is lonely
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

When our family appears in tatters
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

When our heart and hope have lost their center
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

When love seems a distant memory
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

When we are selfish and proud and small
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

When we see the evil surrounding us
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

For the hungry, the abandoned, the abused, the forgotten
Happy are they who trust in the Lord!

May joys be yours today, because God has come in Jesus. And God is coming again. Discover your joy.

To encourage your celebration of joy, I suggest snagging this excellent folksy Christmas album from the band Sojourn. The album is Advent Songs. And you can download it for free (by telling 5 friends about it) at NoiseTrade.

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