Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will there be joy for me this Christmas?

A few weeks ago in church on Sunday morning our pastor, Dan, spoke about joy. He highlighted the joy individuals find when they nail God's purpose in life.

Even though I've found God's purpose for me and daily (for the most part) target it (Well, there are those days, when I'd rather sip cappuccinos, surf the Internet, or get a pedicure.), I thought, "I don't think there will be joy for me this Christmas. One of my kids is floundering to find his purpose. Watching him despair breaks my heart again and again. And again."

"Watching him has compelled me to fervent prayer, which has provided me with an unshakable sense of God's presence and an inkling of hope for the future," I wrote on Dan's blog. "But joy seems really distant...I don't think there will be joy for me this Christmas."

"Fervent prayer, combined with an unshakable sense of God's presence, mixed with an inkling of hope? That's joy," Dan posted.

Here I had been thinking that joy was like the gleeful rush I feel when I plummet down the first hill of a roller coaster. Only joy (in my mind) was that gleeful rush prolonged--for a long time.

Dan's comment compelled me to take another look at joy.

I'm redefining joy this month. As I do, I'm playing a little game reminiscent of Where's Waldo? Instead of standing with arms crossed, jealous of those joy-filled others and stoically accepting no-joy-for-me this season, I've asked God to point joy out.

"God, if You've tucked the gift of joy into this Christmas season for me--then please help me recognize it," I pray.

Guess how many of my check-out clerks have been named Joy.

Last week, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in awhile. She asked exuberantly, "How is your sister Joy?"

I don't have a sister named Joy.

But I told God I sure enjoyed the inside joke.

As writers, we enjoy the privilege of writing about the lessons God teaches us, the gifts He gives. I've discovered that's pure joy.


Suzanne said...

What a great insight, Faith! Both Dan's and yours.

Don't you wonder how many things we misunderstand, like true joy? God has an entirely different point of view on so many issues...on just about everything we think important.

And trying to conform our minds to oh my...hard, hard, hard to do.

But so necessary and so satisfying!

I'm going to be looking for "joy!"

Faith said...

Joy is also having three superb writing partners! Joy-filled Christmas to all of you!