This year I've found myself a little bit fixated on the concept of 'Joy'.
The Joy of Christmas.
The Joy of Advent.
The Joy of Family.
The Joy amidst sorrow.
The Joy that follows as the next thing after "the Peace that passes understanding."
I'm finding that, at least for me, Joy is getting quieter and quieter.
Not that Joy is lessening. That's not what I'm saying. No.
Rather, in a strange way perhaps, the opposite entirely.
Joy is simply becoming a quieter thing within my life, though still intense.
Yes, that makes it somewhat easier to overlook if I'm not careful.
Yes, that can cause me to forget to portray it outwardly for others to observe.
(Two situations that I've been encouraging the little ones at church to avoid.)
The Joy of the Advent of Christ - 'Christmastime' as its most widely understood - has become like the white-hot glow of the campfire's insides... after the big flames have died down.
The entire month of December is a 'Busy-mas' of church service preparations, classroom devotions, family arrangements, decorations everywhere, and songs that you can't help but sing along with on the radio ("Thanks a LOT, Bing Crosby!").
...but under it all, at least for me, is that final and almost overlooked present that got stuck down at the toe of your stocking.
Its a nugget that, once it's found, you can't take your eyes off of.
You hold it for a prolonged moment before life starts swirling around you again, and lose yourself in the warmth of awe.
HE has come!
THIS is why it's all happening!
...we're going to be okay. Really!
And your heart whispers with the Angels:
"Gloria in Excelsis Deo!"