Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Third Week of Advent - Joy

This is one image of joy I've had sitting around my house the past few days.  It's pretty indicative of what we are told this time of year.  Joy is about the right gift under the perfect Christmas tree surrounded by the happy family.  Really?  I don't think that's exactly what the Bible means by joy.  James exhorted his fellow believers, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (James 1:2 TNIV).  In times of trial, it's not brightly wrapped gifts I crave.  Even now, when my life is relatively trial-free, that isn't what I really want.  What I want is to be one of those people who can endure life's struggles with an unshakeable joy in God, not just a sappy smile.  I'm still trying to understand all that joy is about, but if it has anything to do with gifts, I know it's less about the ones wrapped under the tree than the One who was placed in a manger.



    Let a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands
And take it when it runs by...
Carl Sandburg

It’s easy to catch joy when it’s all piled up on your lap.   My nieces and nephew - a trendy 8 year old, an all-boy 5 year old and a two year old who begins everyday with the announcement “It my bir-day!”   - are visiting this week and our quiet evenings at home with the cat and the Christmas tree have been replaced by silly giggles, campfire s’mores in the backyard, and a floor full of legos and Polly Pockets.    

We toured the Charleston holiday scene - including the James Island Holiday Festival of Lights.  We had already made one drive through the light show with our three grown children.  It was a fun trip, full of memories and hilarious political and religious commentary on the light vignettes.  This week, we returned to see the lights with the nieces and nephew in tow.   “Yook! Yook!  A weindeer!”   It was pure jumping up and down delight  (well, except for the few moments of sibling disagreement and rebellion- but I’m not their mom so I was having a great time!)  

I love catching these fleeting moments of joy as they go speeding past - in the guise of a two year old who thinks everyday is her birthday and three children who manage to jump in the ocean - even in December!  What joy!



I love storms. I took this photo in St. Augustine, Fla., at dawn, just before a storm rolled in. It was a long, quiet walk, full of shifting clouds and light, a stolen moment before I resumed the drive down to Satellite Beach with my family, the destination of our Thanksgiving break.  The choice was to sleep in or to walk. The light and electric charge of the air drew me out. By the end of the walk, I walked back in soaked, but happy. In the entrance of Shay’s school, Ashley River Elementary, is a Picasso quote: “Art washes away from the soul the dust from everyday life.” I don’t always have time for a long, soaking walk, but I’ve learned every day has its offerings of joy to be gathered. Manna moments, if you will.

Sometimes, it’s the only way I get through the day.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks, ladies for your Advent gifts! Dawn, I love that photo-- magnificent, and the Picasso quote. It reminds me of another of his that I'm particularly fond of: "Art is the lie that leads us to the truth."