Monday, December 15, 2014

A Letter To My Boys At Advent - Joy

Dear C and G,

You are both excited about Christmas or Christmas things. Bug, every day you delight over a particular Santa ornament. "Santa's on the tree!" you say with glee. I've overheard you singing bits of jingle bells, and I wonder when and where you picked that up so easily.  Bubby, you are excited about presents and Santa and Christmas lights and making cookies and lighting candles and... the season brings you joy. Tonight in the co-op Christmas program I watched you sing with enthusiasm and a big smile on your face. (So much enthusiasm that you decided it was your job to tell the boy next to you to sing louder. But that is another story for another time.)

Somehow in adulthood most people lose their childlike excitement and enthusiasm for life. We get wrapped up in the stresses of the day, our obligations, expectations and worries, and our selfishness. As we lit the "joy" candle last night, I realized how much I miss the opportunities to embrace and express joy on a regular basis. Joy should not be defined as happiness. Joy is an act of trust, a step of faith.  I love how Kay Warren defined joy, " Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation."

Advent reminds us to look for joy. Not in our own strength and in our circumstances, but in Jesus.  He came to earth not to give us everything we wanted, but to be everything we need. Because He is my salvation, by faith I can have joy. I know that this is something I need to be a better example of to you both. Joy is not easy for me, but it is necessary. I pray that as you get older and wiser, you do not lose the childlike joy you have these days in both the silly and the sacred aspects of life. I hope that in the years ahead you sing and pray and question with the same faith-filled joy as I hear you doing now each day.


"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
       my heart trusts in Him.
My heart leaps for joy,
      and with my song I praise Him." 
Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

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