Posted in family life, musings

Advent – the candle of joy

In the midst of the waiting, in the midst of the sorrows of life, the pain and wickedness in the news, the stress of everyday struggles, there is Gaudete Sunday.

It is a day to remember the coming joy, the enduring joy, that the Baby Jesus is bringing to the world; a day to experience a foretaste of the abundance and redemption that will be after His second coming.

In the midst of our longing, our ache for restoration and healing and justice, there is a reminder that one day, all sorrows will be healed, all wrongs righted, all joy restored.

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This season, my mom is doing a fairly good job of embodying that joy for me just through the Christmas spirit and hospitality of her home. Despite a tendency to get somewhat stressed, she loves Christmas deeply and has turned her whole home into a celebration of the season, full of the concomitant happiness and beauty that it entails.

There is joy in the family that holds together with love, in the traditions and celebrations of the family and the church, those two institutions that nurture within them sparks of the coming restoration. There is happiness in seeing the family grow, bringing more people into the reach of the glowing warmth and community of the family heart. And I think of how one day all of us in Christ will be perfectly united as one great family, and I can hardly imagine how great that joy will be.

The joy of Christmas, though it is now only a promise not yet fulfilled, is something we can cultivate in our families, our churches, and our hearts, preparing ourselves and our communities for the restoration, the healing, the coming fullness of joy – because if we can’t experience joy now, if we lock ourselves into the cynicism or despair of a life without the hope of Christ, what chance do we have of living in His joy for eternity? We will have trained ourselves to shut it out.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

 

 

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