Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Joy

What brings you joy? I'm not talking about material happiness, like a new car or even your favorite drink from the corner coffee shop, that might bring a glow for a season, then fades into emptiness and wanting more. I'm talking about that deep, abiding joy that can be there even in the midst of dark circumstances.

Maybe you are unemployed, single or facing some life challenge and think, "Once I find a good job" or "get married" or "regain my health" then this empty place in my heart will be filled. It was like that for me through infertility, thinking that having children would bring lasting joy.

But you know what? Three living miracles later, I'm very thankful for them and they do fill my heart in so many amazing ways, but none of them were "the answer" either. This is not to say that I am not overwhelmingly aware of the blessings these answered prayers are in my life and I am so humbled and grateful to be in this season. It's just stating the reality that my children didn't fix every lonely and broken longing of my heart as I sometimes dreamed they might, just as marriage or a new job or whatever answer you are aching for cannot fill you with full joy either.

The only true joy I've ever found came in the form of the Baby born in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago. Through infertility, the Baby mocked me from the manger, for if even a virgin could give birth, I was in sad shape to not be able to conceive or carry even with cutting edge medical assistance. But it was in looking beyond the manger, to the Father in Heaven who gave His Son and knowingly took up the anguish of a grieving parent so that He could call me His adopted daughter, that made the manger a beautiful place in my heart.

It was in watching that Baby grow, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who willingly exchanged my sin and shame for the His own life, taking on death to buy my eternal life, that I realized the source of deepest, lasting joy.

There are many things that bring me happiness in this life, my husband and sweet babies certainly at the top of my list. In preparation for Jesus' birthday party, I also delight in beautiful sights, smells and sounds that fill our home. But true joy is found only at a manger, a cross, an empty tomb, and in the hearts of those who believe in the certain hope of all we cannot see.

The (in)Courage blog is offering a whole month of Joy-themed posts that I'm really en-joy-ing. One that especially resounded with me last week was Still Happy? about the "golden thread of joy" that can weave through our lives even in painful seasons. And if you are struggling to hold onto joy in the midst of unhappy circumstances in life, I invite you to visit my Harvesting Hope™ blog for an encouraging give-away!

To add to the fun and celebratory spirit of the season, I would also love to invite you to check out the newest limited edition shade from Affordable Mineral Makeup™ whose name, Joy, inspired this post. "Joy" offers an array of pearlescent pinks, light green with a touch of lilac and is great on eyes. A 5g jar is only $6.99 at www.affordablemineralmakeup.com/innerbeauty.html

JoyJoy

In this season when the whole world celebrates CHRISTmas, I would love to hear one tradition that brings you happiness in your home. For me it is wrapping our "Baby Jesus" (from the hand carved wooden nativity set that was in my childhood home) in toilet paper. Sounds odd? As a 3-year-old I was worried that the Baby was cold and so I swaddled Him "just like Mary" did. It's a quiet, yearly tradition that makes me stop and think in the business of the season and continues to remind me of the amazingly humble yet powerful Gift that brings me Joy.

2 comments:

Ruth in the Desert said...

Beautiful.

Ruth in the Desert said...

What brings me joy? The book of Psalms, Christmas music, baklava, Fritz the cat, giggling daughters, and my husband next to me.