Skip to main content

Advent meditation: Joy

(That was a sunrise a week or so ago.)

Well, it's 10 O'clock, and everyone is in bed and it's finally quiet so I can think. I'm trying to stave off some bug that's decided to give me a dizzy-headache and sore throat in the last hour. Hot tea and lots of vitamin C I'm hoping will do the trick.

Today, joy.  The third Sunday in Advent the preacher preached on joy.  And I'm glad he did it the way he did.  Cause it's not that easy.  It's not a health and wealth gospel the joy of advent speaks of.  It's not, "Jesus will make you happy." Or, "Jesus will give you what will make you happy."  It's, "Jesus, Man of Sorrows, he knows.  He knows you.  He knows what caused things to not be the way their supposed to be: sin.  And He came to take care of that problem.  And believing that about Him brings something much more real than circumstantial happiness, something you can bank on, something warm and hopeful in you even when you feel sorrow: joy.  Real. Lasting. Unstealable. Joy."

I'm glad he did it the way he did it because honestly, I walked in that building today and when he asked the congregation if we had to pic an emoticon what would we be, I mumbled, "Depressed" under my breath.

It comes like a heavy fog that rolls in.  There's no control about when or how or why.  Depression is a real deal that I've been dealing with for awhile now.  And for the past several weeks it's fog has been gone.  Really gone.  Light and pleasure and smiles and singing have filled my days even in the mundane things that can get a person down.  But a few days ago it rolled in again.  I felt it.  I did a little inventory to see why.  Is it a female hormone thing?  (Note to self made about what day it fell on the calendar).  Did I forget to take my medications?  Is it my diet?  Am I eating too much junk?  Could be any and all of that and more.  But this time, when it rolled in, I did not mindlessly keep wandering through the fog.  I pulled over and preached to myself.  "Self," I said, "Why are you so downcast?  Put your hope in God!"  And then I sang it.  Out loud.  In the kitchen.

"Why so downcast oh my soul. Put your hope in God.  Put your hope in God. Put your hope in Go-o-o-d. Why so downcast oh my soul.  Put your hope in God.  And bless the Lord oh my soul.  Bless the Lord.  He's the lifter of my countenance.  Bless the Lord.  He's the lifter of my head.  Bless the Lord.  He's the lifter of my countenance.  I will never be ashamed..."

The fog didn't clear.  But I was OK with knowing it was there and that, as in the past, it would clear.  I'll wait it out.  The joy in me is the hope of Christ:  He came.  He destroyed sin and death's power over me.  He is committed to conforming me to the image of the Son and He has given me His Holy Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing that when I see Him, I will be like Him and I will be fully alive and live fully with him perpetually and not one drop depressed.  No fog.  No sin.  That's the joy of Advent.  It's massive.  It's greater than all our sorrows.  It can handle sorrow and depression and loneliness and grief and pain.  It knows Who came and Who's coming again.

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. -Psalm 30:5



Quieted,
Sheila

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

eyes on the Author- the every morning struggle to walk by faith

I don't wake up full of vision and motivation.  Actually, what motivates me most is the idea that my french press and single-origin coffee from Guatemala are just minutes away from awaking my senses with it's warm, toasty aroma.  And on those days when I get my stiff, puffy-eyed body out of bed and make my way to the cabinet to prep the press with my favorite coffee and find we're out, I feel great motivation to get dressed and drive to the local store so I can hurry up and get back home before too much time has passed and get my coffee going.

Basically, coffee motivates me to get up in the morning.

Mixed in the grogginess between eyes open and that first cup of coffee I remember who I am.

I am not my own.  I am a Christian.  The weight of meaning in that word falls on me like gravity on the fledgling attempts of a young eagle to fly every morning.

I feel myself falling.  Falling. Squawking out a cry, "Help!  Help Lord!  I am yours. Let me hear your loving kindness…

An Unlikely 23 Years

Wedding Day- Sept.4, 1993
Connor's birthday- April 1, 2003
During our first separation and pregnancy with Ryland- November 2004
Seeking a new start in Arizona all together- October 2005
 Second separation March 2010
Still together on a desert trail- Spring 2015
Today has been a tough day, emotionally.

Twenty three years ago today I made a vow before God and about 100 family and friends to take James as my husband, to have and to hold from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.

Those are some serious promises.  Better, worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health have all been part of these 23 years.  Honestly, most of it has been hard.  We weren't a very likely match at 19 and 21.  He from the big city, me from a small town.  His dad a pharmacist, mine a log truck driver.  We met in a child development class, taking pre-reqs for nursing.  He hated it.  I loved it.  He had long hair and torn jeans and l…

Burned chicken, my story and Israel

It's been an interesting day.



 I'm sitting here trying to get a hold on how I nearly burned down the covered patio by barbecuing bone-in chicken breasts while I planned and prepped other things in the kitchen. I know time can get away from me sometimes, but I tell ya I was in here for 30 minutes and I set the burners on low!

I probably shouldn't post today's attempt at making something real on my new recipe blog. Or maybe I should. Keeping it real. Real, even if it is burned, leads to trust.

Like standing in front of a congregation of missed-the-mark makers like me (many of whom I don't know), telling my charred story, knowing it'll be recorded, knowing my family will be listening. It's a burnt offering, my homologeo. A sum of all that I can put in appropriate words at this time offered up to the Refiner's fire who's been keeping me real through it all.

A very dear person to me asked why Jews and Christians don't agree about Jesus recently.…