Editor’s Note: Sister Cathy Cahill, OSF, shares in excitement for this great joy that comes with the season. She reflects on the truth of His joy, how we can encounter it, and offers a prayer for us to each share the joy we’ve received with others, as joy itself only multiplies. 

Joy to This World!

How do we speak of joy in a world that experiences so much suffering? Can we experience joy in the face of a pandemic, economic uncertainty, political divides, or worldwide unrest? The short answer is: “Yes!” Joy is not the absence of suffering or sorrow, but the deep belief that God is with us in it all. 

Since the end of October we have had messages about JOY in the ads on television, the catalogs in the mail, the messages in social media. And the message is this: You will have joy if you get THIS, whatever THIS might be. It could be the perfect car or the exquisite scent, the wardrobe of your dreams or the vacation of a lifetime.  If you are reading a blog like this you are more than likely not taken in by such claims. You know that joy is something deeper. You know that this message of “Joy to the World” that we will be singing about in a few weeks has more to do with the wonders of God’s love than wonders of Amazon. 

And where do find these “wonders of God’s love’? Perhaps it is in the everyday stuff of our lives. We might find joy in the faces of those around us, in the kindness of strangers who smile or hold a door open for us, in the beauty of the “fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains” when we open our eyes to see. Advent is a time of watching and waiting. We can watch for the signs of joy or the signs of doom. We will find what we watch for. We can wait for the coming of love into our lives or for the next calamity to befall us. There will be surprises for us. Let us be surprised by joy. Jesus said that He wants us to have His  joy and that our joy be complete (see John 15:11). Let us make the choice to look for causes of joy each day.

 Prayer: Open the eyes of my heart, O God, that I might see the joy you bring, that I might welcome it, and that I might share this joy with others. Amen