I’m not going to lie - finding joy during 2020 was difficult for me. I suspect many of you may have found that challenging…
While we can’t ignore the past – it happened – we can reframe it into a story of redemption by looking at it, by talking about it, by thinking about it through the lens of Jesus’ love and grace. We change our past by allowing it to be redeemed.
Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday; “gaudete” is Latin for “rejoice.” Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals that joy and rejoicing are an inevitable overflow in the lives of people who have understood and experienced God at work in their lives.
He actually gives us the secret to happiness. As tempting as it would be to think that our happiness will come from getting what we want, or doing what we want, our having our needs or wants met, Paul turns that on its head.
Hozier believes that something in you dies when you give yourself in the human act of sex. Yet when there is a kind of relationship, this death must go both ways. The lover becomes not just the one who gives their life, but the one who takes the other’s life. This mutual deathless death is the closest you get to love and happiness on the sex-as-happiness path.
Joy flows from the same well as grace. And it begins with repentance and renewal. If I’m going to learn Christ and embrace the new life he offers, I have to let go of the old life, the lower existence. And a key piece in learning Christ is learning to walk in forgiveness. This is the difference between reacting and responding. To put it plainly, I have to learn to discipline my emotions, especially the emotion of anger, so it doesn’t create opportunity for sin in my life.
We humans can only be happy when we face the reality of evil. We can’t be happy without the truth. Despite being surrounded by the truth of ugly facts – genocide or beheadings or crowded refugee camps or grotesquely contagious diseases – we have the inner impulse to reach also for the truth of reality, of existence, the Truth that transcends current events, that tunes the music of the spheres and absorbs everything into the unity that is Triune love.