New Year: JOY

I feel increasingly that 2016 will be my year to focus on JOY.

Joy? Joy? Really?

Yep, joy.

Where is the place for joy in today’s messed up world?

As Ann Voskamp writes so eloquently (here), ‘how in the world does a weary world rejoice?’ How, indeed.

You know, plenty of people are finding an answer to that question, as it turns out. Sarah Bessey writes (here) that ‘Joy isn’t emotionally or spiritually or intellectually dishonest. Christian joy doesn’t mean that we are sticking our heads in the sand and saying, “it’s fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine” while running past the gutter of broken dreams, eyes averted.’ Sarah Bessey says that ‘joy is the affirmation of the truest thing in this life.’

It takes a moment to get your head around that statement, I think. And yet, there’s something about it that makes my soul catch its breath. There’s a thrill of genuine excitement, a wondering – what if joy is an affirmation of the truest thing? If joy is an affirmation of the truest thing, well, life begins to look a little different.

If, as Sarah Bessey asserts (and do click on the link to read her full post), if the truth is that love will overcome, is overcoming, if the truth is that each of us is cared about, if the truth is that God can be trusted – well, then there is a reason for celebration, a reason for joy. If we can walk through the sadnesses with affirmation instead of fear, with the certainty that all will be made right, is being made right, in spite of appearances, well, then there is a reason for joy. I can look at grief head on, I can lament it, I can long for it to be turned inside out, and I can feel at least an inkling of joy in the hope that one day it will be turned inside out. I can look at that grief, that trouble, I can lament it, and I can feel an inkling of joy that there is a love big enough to hold it.

And I do believe that love will overcome, is overcoming. I do believe that each of us is cared about, that God can be trusted.

I do believe that all will be made right, is being made right.

I do believe that one day grief will be turned inside out. I do believe that there is a love big enough to hold this weary world’s pain.

I believe that Christmas is all about that love, that compassion, that comfort offered by a God who is turning the pain inside out, little by little, a God who would famously turn death itself inside out. And that is why my soul is starting to catch the smallest flickering of joy.

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