feelin’ the JOY
It is about this time of the Advent season every year when I’m over it. Do you ever feel this way? It might be because I’ve already OD’d on Christmas cookies. It might be because by this point I’ve given in to the pine needles that keep dropping all over my floor. It might be because of that little elf. Why did we start that tradition?? I’ve certainly become bitter and suspicious of carols like Baby It’s Cold Outside. I mean, really, how is this song still so popular? On top of which, the daily to do lists are not mixing well with the Christmas to do lists… and I am becoming the Grinch.
And just on time, that pink candle shows up…the Sunday of Joy… and the liturgical calendar sort of pops me in the nose. It’s as if it is saying, “You’re too focused on all the wrong things. Jesus does not need you to get all your Christmas cards in the mail on time to celebrate his birthday.”
The joy of Advent really has nothing at all to do with being holly or jolly. It isn’t even about happiness at all. The joy of Advent is the knowledge that no matter what time it is and no matter what kind of day we’re having, Jesus is with us. We can have faith in a God who knows pain and heartache and walks with us through ours. It is the joy of not having to walk through our days alone and of knowing the deeper purpose to life which puts all things…even the Christmas season…into perspective.
The other day in our family Bible class we made this take on an Advent wreath. It is simply one of those glass candles you can buy at the grocery store wrapped in purple, pink, and white yarn. The idea is to light it just enough each week so that the wax burns down to the color Sunday it is.
If you’re not familiar with the colors of Advent, week one and two are purple-a royal color to recognize Jesus the king. Week three is pink. It is called Rose Sunday or Gaudete Sunday as we get closer to Christmas and start feeling (or trying to feel) the joy of Emmanuel, God with us. The fourth Sunday of Advent goes back to purple and then we switch to white to celebrate the purity of Christ on Christmas Day.
(I’m a total nerd for the liturgical calendar because I believe it helps me stay centered on what is important-like now in the midst of the Christmas crazy when I start to get grumpy and bitter.)
The families really liked making this craft and I hope you do too.
So, my prayer for all of us is to start feeling the joy of Advent and take in what is truly important during this season. Maybe we can let the rest go and maybe we can’t. The good news is that we’ve heard the good news of Jesus. At least we know how to find joy if we’re willing to let the rest go and shake our heads at ourselves when we can’t.
Maybe I’ll wear pink today to keep myself focused…