It was a windy, rainy Sunday. And we have had some dark days spiritually of late, dealing with acts of violence and hatred in our world. But joy simply shone through at Island. We slopped through the rainy parking lot, and exchanged wet hugs. We gave thanks for Ed and Paul finding the leaky place in the roof. We celebrated our Baby Jesus party with guests and toys, and made luminarias for Christmas Eve. No darkness or dampness would get us down.
Someone asked me recently about the difference between happiness and joy. We decided that happiness might be planned for, worked toward, or even expected (a little!). It has a steadiness about it. Joy, on the other hand, is indescribable, unexpected, and often sudden. Joy pops out of nowhere even in the most inhospitable of circumstances – like the pouring rain, or a cold night in a long-ago stable with a wandering couple expecting a baby.
We heard from the prophet Zephaniah who had plenty of gloom and doom to lay on the people of Judah, but always ended up with the joyful news that God takes delight us, and wants us to delight in one another.
Be hopeful. Be at peace. Be delighted. God is near.