Pointing Out Joy
The Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)
Old Testament: Zephaniah 3:14-20
Psalter: Isaiah 12:2-6
Epistle: Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 3:7-18
God of hope, you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression to the freedom of justice, the balm of healing, and the joy of sharing. Make us strong to join you in your holy work, as friends of strangers and victims, companions of those whom others shun, and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
by Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church, Ashland, Ohio, and Pastor of Polk United Methodist Church, Polk, Ohio.
This time around there is no abundance of sparkling words or clever metaphors or insights into the human experience, only observation. Joy surrounds us, stars in a night sky (okay, allow me a metaphor or two), and I want to point my jolly, eager index finger in its direction. I will now simply highlight what exists. Can you do the same?
1. There is joy when I bear witness to my husband’s sleeping form. I might be awake in the wee hours, contending with anxiety, but he is there when I roll onto my side, solid and sure and at rest.
2. There is joy when we have plugged in our Christmas tree and get to feast our eyes on colors and memories. I call it a "weighted blanket for my vision" and, when I stare at it, I am dazed and still and content.
3. There is joy in knowing that a couple thousand years ago, a teenage girl said "Yes" so that God could be with us. Her sacrifice was holy and the thought of her thickening waistline and raging hormones and probable cravings for olives and extra bread makes me smile.
4. There is joy in easing into a warm bath, in lighting an evergreen-scented candle and allowing the day to ease out of my ragged pores and tired bones. Inhale, exhale. Lather, rinse. Pray. Repeat.
5. There is joy, there is so much rip-roaring, earth-shattering, resonant, epic, gorgeous joy, in realizing that we are able to recognize joy.
Look around. It is there. The pink candle confidently stands among the more subdued purple and blue. Point it out. Reference it tirelessly, and with much conviction. Nudge those to your left and your right and say, "See that? God is alive and well."
Cross-Posted from "Reflections on Faith, Words, and The Holiness of Today"