O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Rejoice! Advent comes to a close and Christmastide begins. I wish you joyous celebrations and a year filled with daily “advents” as you welcome Christ into your heart and home throughout the days ahead. Rejoice!
1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most quoted chapters of the Bible. It’s used at weddings a lot, but it’s actually part of a letter to the church. The advice within is sound for any relationship, marriage or otherwise. Maybe you can spend a few minutes today reading, or more likely, rereading the beautiful, guiding words of the apostle Paul. Here are some of my favorite highlights:
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong…
2 …and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
8 Love never fails.
11 …I put childish ways behind me.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I hope you will revisit 1 Corinthians 13 and see which ideas speak to you the loudest today. Be sure to share. And love each other.
It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.
I’m not sure there’s much I can add to that. May we love each other and the rest of the world unconditionally, this week and beyond.
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
– Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
We don’t know much about Joseph, but I think it’s safe to say he would have been terrible on a T.V. reality show. Think about it. His girlfriend was pregnant, and knowing the child was not his own, he could have slandered her name via social media (literally social), drunk too much wine, and wrecked a perfectly good donkey cart. Instead, he planned to quietly distance himself from her in a way that would maintain the dignity of everyone involved. No T.V. ratings there.
Once Joseph understood what was going on, he trusted both God and Mary, and did exactly what the angel told him to do. Over time, he proved he was the perfect father for Jesus, traveling long distances and making wise, careful decisions to keep his child safe. Going out of one’s way for the sake of another? Thoughtful decision making? Again, no ratings.
I am thankful for the example we have in Joseph, and I am thankful for his role in the Christmas story and beyond. I’m going to make it a point to follow his example more often and to make it known when others do the same. I hope you’ll join me.
I hope you are finding great happiness in this week of joy. If so, please share!
Joy is a song that welcomes the dawn telling the world that the Savior is born.
– from “When God is a Child” by Brian Wren
“I’ve got joy like a fountain in my heart.” You may recognize that as a line from an old Sunday School tune. I remember singing it boldly along with the other verses which included “peace like a river” and “love like an ocean.” All are good descriptors, but “joy like a fountain” is my favorite. When joy happens, it bubbles up and out like water from a wellspring.
I recently had a conversation with a grieving friend. Though she often feels sad, she is looking forward to what she calls her “new reality.” Planning for a new residence, starting a small business, and being with family are all sources of joy. Sometimes she feels guilty for being happy. Other times she worries that people will judge her for being happy at a time when she should, in their view, be sorrowful. Fortunately, joy bubbles up pushing all that aside, making room for brighter tomorrows. I am lucky to be standing in the spray.
Once I realized the problem was not you but within me, I found inner peace and was able to harness the flow of the universe.
–from Kung Fu Panda 2
I have never watched this movie, but I love how this quote shows the value of peace across cultures. Do you have a favorite movie line or song lyric about peace? If so, please share!