This week at Trinity Beamsville
December 11, 2020
Well, it finally happened. I’d been prepared by friends that one day, this day would come.
My little one is a content and easy going little boy. On the way home the other day, I thought, “just a quick stop at shoppers, in and out”. Well, that was no problem. I learned the hard way about what we’ve now been calling the terrible triad of doom: hunger, tiredness and overstimulation. This combo, along with mommy saying “no”, he didn’t need a toy, caused my little guy to have a meltdown in the store. If you haven’t experienced this terror first-hand, I don’t doubt that you’ve witnessed it. For me, this was a first. We unceremoniously left, abandoning our needed items, holding a wailing two year-old sideways, and nodding apologetically to other shoppers as we left. *Deep Breaths!*
Sweet as he is, I can’t expect my little guy to be content all the time. We as adults certainly can’t be happy all the time either. Happiness is based on circumstances, and circumstances change. We get hungry, or tired, or overstimulated. Or, stuck in ruts. Or, wade through truly difficult circumstances beyond our control. I wonder if this is why the book “The Secret” was such a bestseller a few years back – many people seek ways to manifest new circumstances in the pursuit of happiness. Worthy pursuit, no doubt.
Author and theologian Henri Nouwen puts it this way: while happiness usually depends on circumstances, joy runs deeper. “Joy,” he writes, “is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing — sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death — can take that love away.” Cultivating deep joy then, as the Psalmists did, is about finding gratitude for what God has done, and nurturing anticipation of what God will do. And all of this amid the remembrance of the significance of Emmanuel, God with us; in life, in death, in life beyond death, we are not alone.
We are approaching the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudate or Joy Sunday, where we will light the pink candle on our wreath. Advent historically tended to be a pensive and penitent time. This week of joy was, is, a little break. A time to consider, as the ancient writers did, the profound joy we find in God, despite circumstances. This Sunday, we will explore with fresh eyes the profound joy in Mary’s song, the Magnificat. I hope and pray that you and yours will be blessed with a burst of deep joy this week. “See” you on Sunday!