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Joy - Monday Musing, December 13, 2021

Dear Church,

Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Yesterday, the third Sunday of Advent, we lit the Candle of Joy. Only the day before, images of tornado damage across multiple states filled our television screens. The global pandemic is reporting unprecedented numbers of COVID infections and deaths not only in this country, but also worldwide. We can’t escape living with inflation we have not seen in forty years. And as a community of faith, we have multiple people facing health challenges, pastoral care concerns, recent deaths, and many are entering the holidays with an empty seat at the table for the first time. In the midst of Advent and a holiday season with calamities swirling around us, it is hard to find the joy in our lives.

I must admit that I cannot utter the word joy without thinking of my oldest son’s mother. I married my high school sweetheart, Joy, after graduating from college. I joined the Army and we found ourselves, a young couple, living in far flung places in the world. Our son, Tony, was born on my wife’s twenty-second birthday, shortly before an oversees deployment. We faced challenges living far from home, but there was always joy because we had each other. Sadly, Joy was killed in an automobile accident three years later. Tony was in the car with her at the time and suffered injury but survived. Joy’s death led to my discharge from the military after six years of service.

In scripture we read, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). In times such as these, how pivotal it is to remember this fact. Jesus brings light into the world, and though the world is full of darkness, it has not overcome the light of Christ. In yesterday’s worship we prayed: “In times of deep despair, in the murkiness of our world’s struggles, in the muck of daily life, may we remember (God is) still creating and rejoicing.” Whatever challenges we face individually and as a community of faith, we know that the light of God’s love shines like a beacon to light our path.

I have heard it said that joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God. May you feel the joy of God’s presence and be lovingly guided by God’s light in the darkness that you face this Advent season. See you in church!




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