Sounding joy: Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
It has been such a delight and honor to read about the various ways members of this congregation have experienced joy, and I do mean various! From kids to cars, opportunities to communities, pets to places – even from smiles to tears – joy is everywhere! If you need any further proof, just take a look at this graphic which illustrates the words used most often when our contributors reflected on “sounding joy.”
Despite the variation in these devotions, one dominant theme stands out: gratitude. In the words of psychologist Brené Brown, “The most effective way to cultivate joy in our lives is to practice gratitude…So often we think that joy makes us grateful, when in reality it’s gratitude that brings joy.” Like many aspects of our faith and wellbeing, gratitude is something we must intentionally practice, over and over again, in order to fully experience the joy that springs from it. Perhaps that is another reason why the Advent season is so sacred and special: it creates a time and a space to pause and think about what/who we are grateful for and whom we have to thank for such blessings. Like the shepherds and wisemen in the nativity story, we need to drop what we are doing and go and see what God has done before we can join the heavenly host in singing,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven! And on earth, peace and goodwill to all” (Luke 2:14).