Christmas is three days away. My house is a mess, my kids are arguing, and I hope no one ventures to give me clothes for Christmas because they probably won’t fit. There, I said it.
And, those are just some small frustrations I’m facing. Little blips on the radar of a mom’s life, you know? There are bigger ones. Much bigger.
The daughter of dear friends is having surgery today. Two young moms I know are battling cancer. People are driving trucks into Christmas markets.
This world is crazy and sad and full of sin and its effects.
There is joy. It bubbles up in the most unexpected places sometimes. It reminds me of the book Hinds Feet on High Places when Much-Afraid found the flower Acceptance with Joy blooming in the most unlikely place.
Joy didn’t fit there, and it doesn’t always fit here either. On this earth with all its problems, with all its pain.
One of the most joyful women I have ever met had lost her husband to AIDS and was living with HIV.
I’ve listened to the testimony of dear friends who lost two of their children and still give glory to God for all the good things he has done.
I’ve watched a blind girl string beads with a smile on her face while her mother told me her story of abuse and neglect and of how they found hope.
I’ve been thinking about all of these things a lot lately because….Christmas, you know? Thinking of how a light was shining so brightly in a very dark night and realizing that same light still does.
And joy is one of the reasons.
All of the people I mentioned above had joy. The real kind that doesn’t fade when you face trials. It doesn’t mean they didn’t suffer; it’s not because they were never sad.
It’s because they had a Savior. And not just a superhero that snatched them from danger then went on his way. They had Immanuel. God with Us.
And he gives joy.
Jesus told his disciples that they would grieve. After all, he was going where they couldn’t follow. He knew it would hurt, but he told them this:
“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)
Y’all, he says the same thing to us. His disciples grieved; they lived in fear.
Until his spirit filled them.
His presence makes it possible to live in peace, to journey joyfully.
And no trouble can change that, no person can prevent it.
So “rejoice in the Lord. I will say it again, ‘Rejoice!’ Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5)