This is the second entry for Advent and the topic is Joy. I sat and stared at the wall for 20 minutes when I saw that word. It’s a strong word. You have happy, glad, excited, pleased, then there is joy. That just seems like a very big word. So I thought to myself, what does that even mean? So, being on an electronic device at the time, I looked it up. There are two definitions that I found.
The first one was the definition that I figured fit the situation; the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
It didn’t make the word any smaller or easier to write about. The first thing I asked myself was, When was the last time you felt that? I have been happy a lot. I have been very happy recently. I recently took a short trip with my wife and we enjoyed every minute of it. Was that joy? We are Renaissance festival performers and have had amazing experiences. Was that joy? I can say without a doubt that I felt joy when I married my wife. I can say without a doubt that I felt joy when my children were born. Those moments were full of joy for sure.
When have I felt joy since. I think that I felt it when I sat in the dirt and played my hand drum with about 8 toddlers huddled around me. I felt joy happen when I assisted a young girl in a wheelchair navigate through our festival. I felt joy when so many people complimented the Christmas play that I wrote for our children’s church presentation last year. I have felt joy since. I could spend the rest of the evening making a list but that isn’t the point. Looking backwards and finding the joy. I can now know what it was the was felt. Now can I describe it?
The definition does an adequate job of describing joy clinically. But lets try this. Joy is what happens when you are open and exposed to the universe and you allow other people in. Joy is what happens when you are fully accepting of the good that is occurring to and around you. Joy is what happens when you are so happy you shine.
So now we know what joy is. What now? The point of this time of year is to make yourself ready for Christmas. The point of this week is to make space in your life for joy. That is a hard thing for many people. I personally know many people that struggle with this, not only year long but especially this time of year. When you are not near your family, you are away from your friends, your social circle is smaller than ideal, or there are health issues that keep you from feeling joy, this time of year can be a real challenge. At a time of year when feeling joy is part of the plan, the plan can get derailed fast.
I think that is why I had this little project placed in front of me. I want you to feel joy. I want you to know that you are loved and appreciated. On a personal human level. I want you to feel joy. I can’t make a person open up and experience joy. I can’t change a hurt feeling or a guarded psyche. I can only simply tell you. I want you to feel joy this holiday season. I want you to be happy. I want to help you find something exceptional or satisfying to make you happy. Perhaps that thing is this; I love you. To everyone who might read this and t o those who will not, if you are in my circle, I love you and I want you to be happy. You are worthy of happiness and joy. It is for you and I hope that knowing that I am in your corner helps, if only a little bit.
I wish you joy in your life this holiday season and in the coming year.