Week 3 – Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness
At the start of the third week of Advent we take time to reflect on joy: what joy we experience, and what joy we share and create with others. We continue preparing for the birth of our Savior, and anticipate it with joy.
As we begin this time of quiet prayer, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your legs planted on the ground. Allow yourself to notice your breathing as you breathe normally. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Take a few moments and close your eyes, preparing yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this prayer. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” When you are ready, open your eyes and pray.
What is impossible is possible.
Imagine you are walking along a path in a park. It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining in a clear, blue sky. The air is crisp and cool. It is fragrant with the smell of evergreens that are in clusters along the path. You stop to look and listen to what is around you. You hear the sound of the wind as it whispers through the trees. You notice a squirrel as it runs left then right then left, looking for something to take to his nest. You smile. All is good. All is full of life. You feel a part of all that is. You are happy.
You make your way home and make a cup of tea. Sitting by the fire you think over your morning walk and you pray, “ My God, thank You for all that surrounds me. I know Your presence embraces me, helping me to know You are here. Thank You.”
You sit in the quiet and begin to doze off. Resting your head on a pillow you fall asleep and dream. In your dream, you are lying under a large tree. Its trunk is enormous and leads up to branches that spread out over a great distance. You look up and see the faces of those you love through the leaves, your loved ones are sitting on the branches of the tree. Who do you see in the tree? Do they see you? What are they doing? Why are they here?
You hear some movement near you. You raise your head and see coming towards you a small child. He is smiling, perhaps laughing. He comes up to you with open arms and wraps them around your neck. “Let’s play,” He says. “I will run and you try to catch Me.” His joy makes you laugh. You wonder where this child has come from. Why is He here? You ask Him, “But what about all these people in the tree? I don’t want to leave them.” He looks at you with such joy. “It’s OK. They’ll be happy because you’re happy.” As you stand up, He runs off giggling and laughing. You pretend not to be able to catch Him. He suddenly stops and jumps into your arms. He kisses your neck and says, “Look. Everyone is laughing so hard the tree is shaking.” You look into his eyes and are overwhelmed with such happiness and love that your eyes are brimming with tears. You think, “Why am I feeling this way about this little child?”
He jumps down from your arms and walks towards the tree. You follow Him and sit with Him under the tree still shaking with laughter. “I love you,” He says. “I’ve always loved you. You are a part of who I am.” He then begins to climb the tree. As He climbs, He greets your loved ones with joy and laughter. He climbs all the way to the top of the tree and stands on the highest branch. Who is this small child? What do you want to say to Him as He stands on the top of the tree?
As you look up to Him, His words come back to you: You are a part of who I am. What does this mean to you? What does it mean to all those you love who are there with you?
Who are the children in your life that have shown you the face of God? How do the children remind and inspire us to spread more joy? How has God helped to make what you thought impossible, possible? (Is. 11:6)
Ask the children….
What does it mean to have joy?
What are you joyful for?
How could you help spread joy to other people?
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!