by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 12/2/14

Stewart Brandon, a quiet kid, always hated singing Christmas carols. It wasn’t because he hated Christmas. It wasn’t because he hated singing. It was because of all the attention that his big sister received during the season, or at least it was the attention that she feigned receiving as the whole congregation stood to sing, “Joy to the World.”  Stew could never understand why there was no “Stew to the World,” as his sister grinned ear to ear as “her” hymn was sung. She literally claimed joy as her own. If only joy could be so easily claimed in all circumstances.
 
Joy tends to show up like the pleasant surprise of an uninvited guest. It is difficult to claim joy. “Happiness,” Frederick Buechner writes, “turns up more or less where you’d expect it to — a good marriage, a rewarding job, a pleasant vacation. Joy, on the other hand, is as notoriously unpredictable as the one who bequeaths it.”
 
What would this Advent season be like for you, if you tried to claim “Joy” as a real live part of your life?
 
Sunday we will worship through a choral cantata titled, Canticle of Joy. This work celebrates the season through anthems, carols, readings, and praise. Let it incite and inspire a little joy in your heart as well.