Advent Devotions 2017
Day Eleven
December 13, 2017

Ruminations on “Joy”

There are a lot of nasty things going on in the world. I won’t repeat them here; you know what they are. I pray to God about them, write to a Congressman from time to time, and wonder how people can be so cruel. There are times, though, when the weight of knowing of these things becomes overwhelming. I have to redirect my thoughts, perhaps take myself back to the Gospels. Life could be just as cruel in the first century as now, and what did Jesus do? He walked from town to town teaching faith, hope and love. He showed genuine care for the people he met. This is how to find JOY in the midst of strife.

One year while teaching Kindergarten Sunday School, the lesson on the Holy Spirit came around. This is a subject, of course, which is hard to explain. So I told them that the Holy Spirit is the part of God that lives in your heart. Then (with their permission) I gave each one of them a big warm hug, and said that that is what it feels like to have God in your heart. Amazingly, each child smiled and had a look on their face that said they knew exactly what I meant. That is JOY!

At a meeting once, I was asked to write down one thing that I did well. I decided to write down that I “stop and smell the roses.” When I go out at night, I look up to find the moon, and if no one is around, I say, “Hello moon, you’re looking good!”  I keep a collection of the exquisite things I find on the ground.  In the wine glasses on top of my buffet, I display pieces of lichen, butterfly wings, and, my favorite maple seeds (helicopter wings).  Pure JOY is what I feel when finding such treasures, and I say to God, “Lord, this is beautiful!”

May the season of Christmas help you to find JOY: in the midst of strife, in the heart of a child, in the everyday findings of the wonders of this world, through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Written by Ann Hays
Art by Lynley