Advent During a Pandemic (3)

Week 3: Joy, December 13th, 2020

“For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” —Luke 1:44

For Joy by Jan Richardson

You can prepare

but still

it will come to you

by surprise

crossing through your doorway

calling your name in greeting

turning like a child

who quickens suddenly

within you

it will astonish you

how wide your heart

will open

in welcome

for the joy

that finds you

so ready

and still so

unprepared.

*****************

If possible, listen to “Prepare the Way of the Lord” which is a song from the Taize community of France. It can be accessed on YouTube, Spotify, or itunes. Try listening to it several times over and then singing it to yourself as you pray and center yourself on this week’s theme of joy. 

The centering words of this song are: 

Prepare the way of the Lord.

Prepare the way of the Lord,

and all people will see the salvation of our God.

What if part of preparing the way of the Lord, or making room for the inbreaking of the kin-dom that the Christ child will bring, is preparing your heart to have some room for joy. Maybe some joy will surprise you this Christmas season as Jan writes. Perhaps in this re-ordered year that looks nothing like the year before, there has been space opened up for joy in a way that we have never experienced before. 

Perhaps you have spent a portion of this year in grief for any number of reasons. One thing that the process of grieving does is open up a well of space within us that, if we let it, empathy fills. Empathy is a huge gift to you and to the world around you. Maybe joy can fill this new-found space too. 

In your journaling this week, answer: 

How is joy calling your name, as Jan writes? 

Is your heart open to be surprised by what brings you joy this Advent and Christmas that maybe you would have missed before? 

Mary Oliver reminds us of this: “joy was not made to be a crumb.” May we not reduce joy in our lives to a crumb of leftovers. May it instead be the featured guest at the Christmas feast.

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