Choosing Joy – Advent Week Three

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…

Our world is weary. Turn on the television, or scan the internet headlines. Schoolchildren gunned down in the U.S., refugees suffering in Syria, rapes, murders, torture…the list grows long and we are weary.

Or look around your family, your friends. Divorce, cancer, distances growing ever farther between parent and child, brother and sister, friend. A still ultrasound, a diagnosis, a loss. A world, so weary.

Our world needs a thrill of hope, a reason to rejoice. How can joy be found in the weariness and through the pain? How can joy be found when the night is long, and the light is dim, and the hope is lost?

When joy is lost, it can still be chosen.

That is the miracle of Christmas. That God came as man in humility, in sacrifice to give us another way. We do not have to succumb to the weariness and the groaning of our world. We do not have to surrender to the darkness and the evil. We can choose joy each day because of the promises spoken in heaven.

We have the promise of joy. Long-lasting, never-ending, far-reaching, life-changing joy.

In the darkest night, in the hour of our deepest suffering, with our grieving hands raised up and empty…we choose Joy. Because Joy chose us, because heaven broke into this weary world with an infant’s cry.

We raise our heads from the dust and rejoice because there is more. There is more than this darkness that surrounds, there is more than this pain that engulfs us and presses down. There is more than this weariness that claws at our bones, and takes our strength.

We light candles and we celebrate in the night. We stand up with our pain around us, and we look it in the eye. We turn from despair, and we live for something more.

We choose Joy.

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