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2018 - Week 3 of Advent: Joy

Think back to the times in your life when you have experienced joy. There are probably lots of memories flooding your minds right now – weddings, births, graduations, celebrations. When I thought about when I have felt the most joy, I realized that these moments shared three characteristics. 

First, my most joyful moments occur in community. It’s rare to think of a moment of pure joy without remembering those with whom we shared the experience. As Catholics united in the Body of Christ, we know that we are created for community, to live and to serve together. Joy comes from authentic experiences shared with one another. 

Second, joy is borne of struggle or a trying time that ultimately makes the end result infinitely sweeter. I think especially of Mary, the Mother of God, who suffered humiliation, fear, and exhaustion throughout her pregnancy but ultimately experienced pure joy when she gave birth to the Son of God.

Third, and finally, joy is not shallow, momentary, or fleeting. There is a difference between the happiness we feel when we watch our favorite TV shows or the contentment we feel when we crawl into bed at night and true, deep joy. Joy fills us up and radiates from our beings, touching those around us and filling our souls. It is a sentiment that sticks with us, guides our interactions, and cements itself in our memories. It is the feeling that inspires us to do good, to serve one another, and to love in all that we do. 

In this advent season, we prepare to experience great joy at the birth of Jesus Christ. Let us appreciate the suffering that has led us to where we are today and those who surround us now to help us welcome our savior. Let us cherish the joy we feel at the beginning of the life of the Son of God and allow that joy to permeate all that we do.