reflecting on joy

Early last month, an acquaintance at church announced that she was looking for volunteers to submit reflections for the church's Advent devotional. After reading the different verses that formed the basis of the daily readings, I offered to write a devotion for Psalm 100: 1-2, which reads:

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

It was hard to know exactly what to write (especially since I always worry whether I'm writing enough), but I was thankful for how the reflection turned out. Here's what I wrote...

Joy. We hear that word a lot during the holidays, don’t we? “Joy to the world,” we sing, “The Lord has come.” As if joy is a natural extension of the Christmas season that requires no effort or planning on our part. Yet if we continue our singing of this beloved carol, we find the phrase, “Repeat the sounding joy.” Repeat. As if joy is something we must choose to partake in. Hmm. Could it be both? Could joy be an ever-present gift and an active choice?

Reflecting upon this Psalm, I believe it could, indeed, be both. “Shout for joy,” we are instructed. “Worship...with joyful songs.” These are things not done passively. To shout and to worship require energy on our part. (Sometimes more energy than we feel capable of.) But if we are paying attention, we recognize how many delights God has placed around us and how full of joy our lives are – not through our own achievement, but through His blessings.

This Christmas season, what will we be joyful for each day? What will we shout for, and be glad for in our daily lives?

Reading that now, midway through December, I'm a little sad to realize that I've let myself stray from the path of joy a lot this month...I've let things distract me and turn my attention toward stress and frustration instead. Yet the joy has been there all along, if only I'd take notice.


Kaela said…
Just read this.. and as I sit still in my church clothes with the lights from the Christmas tree still shining, half the house asleep, and others missing, I find myself seeking for joy and attempting to muster up energy to be joyful. This was the message I needed today.

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