Choose to live with joy

by Ruth Griffiths

This week I find myself humming: “oh tidings of comfort and joy.” It’s the refrain from the classic carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

The comfort sung about in the carol is not about being comfortable, it is about being soothed… a cool comforting hand on a feverish brow, a hug for a fearful child, a clean hankie to wipe away tears. When we are healed, restored and made whole again, we react with a fountain of joy. Joy is an exuberant reaction to overcoming the pain and darkness of living.

During the second week of Advent, we celebrate peace that overcomes our basic human fears. During this third week, we celebrate joy.

I recently received the news that I have made a good recovery from my eye operation. I am euphoric. I can see well again and return to normal activities. Although not much has actually changed in my life, I feel relieved of the stress of worrying about my health. I feel joy.

Joy is a wonderful emotion, but it something I have to chose to accept. I could dwell upon the possibility of becoming sick again. I could be angry that I had to be sick in the first place. Instead, I am chosing to accept the gift of health that has been given to me and to celebrate with joy.

Joy is a choice we can make everyday. Here’s what St. Francis of Assisi had to say about living out the hope and peace in our lives with joy:

Make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is discord, union.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.