This was yesterday’s advent attribute. Such a big part of the Christmas season. Such a huge part of a victorious Christian life. A state of being I have been wrestling with.
I can recite the answers: Joy is not based on your feelings or circumstances. It is vast and more profound than happiness. It is also something that many people in my life hope for me. Though connecting all this knowledge to my heart has been a struggle.
Yet, as I was bombarded by this word yesterday I had an epiphany. You see two years ago Madeline was dedicated on this advent Sunday. It was one of the most poignant and memorable baby dedications I have been a part of and I remember our pastor saying how she was the perfect example of joy personified. Not because of anything she had done, but because of who she was to us. That resonated deeply with my mother’s heart.
So not only did the tragedy of the accident and all that I lost impact my joy, in essence I was robbed. That tiny, fragile, bundle, that joy was stolen from my very arms. Even the innermost longing for joy seems no match for the implausibility of this truth; as I know she is never coming back.
But my daughter didn’t just show up unannounced or without expectation. Colin and I chose to welcome her through our actions and preparation. There was anticipation in our household for her appearance and so when she did arrive we were ready. It was natural for us to have her reside with us because her place had been prepared in advance.
And I believe that this is true too for Joy. I won’t accidentally stumble across it during the day. It isn’t lost under a rock somewhere expecting to be found. It’s not broken or needing a battery replaced.
It lives inside me. It is waiting to be invited to the party. It politely stands behind fear and loathing. It even holds me while I cry. It is hoping I will choose it. And that is probably the toughest thing about it. It is a choice, a decision. An attitude that I have to submit to each and every moment. The pain and sorrow are still very real, but I was never meant to dwell there.
Misery isn’t the only one that loves company.