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Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The third Word of Advent is "Joy."   

Like the other words of Advent, joy has a much deeper meaning than our popular understanding.  Most of us have a tendency to equate joy with happiness.  Even though the two are often experienced together and one usually leads to the other, joy and happiness are not the same.

I have come to think of joy as a state of being or a perspective on life, while happiness is a fleeting experience of pleasure. Joy is the source of happiness. However, one can be joyful even in sadness. Joy is the deep gladness that we are alive, that we participate in and affect this amazing, wonderful experience we call life. 

Joy is the wellspring of laughter, tears, smiles, and frowns.  Joy is the immense sense of belonging when hiking canyons, climbing mountains, standing on the seashore, or looking across vast plains. Joy is knowing the One Eternal Presence is with us, in us, and around us.  Joy is light in darkness.

This is how Advent Angels sing of "great joy" among us, and the Psalmist says, "Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. 


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