“As we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.” -Desmond Tutu
“Joy to the World,” the beloved Christmas classic, turns 300 this year. Composer Isaac Watt’s interpretation of Psalm 98 invites us to sing a “new song”–and it is a powerful cosmic performance of all creation being renewed and freed. Rather than “joy” being yet another word for “happiness,” we will discover that the depths of joy can be found especially in the midst of suffering, the work of justice, and the presence of compassion–all part of the coming of Jesus into this world with a message that we still so desperately need.
The movement of our Advent worship services this year will illuminate for us this depth of joy of which Desmond Tutu speaks. You see, if we consider the joy of being in community with God and with others as portal to finding our most authentic, best selves, then the work of justice, the practice of compassion, and the alleviation of suffering will become a part of the depth of our being; the depth of our joy.
I’m so excited as I begin the process of creating these worship experiences in concert with several church members. I’m excited because these Advent services, along with our Memorial Tree Lighting, Christmas Program, and Christmas Eve Service, provide a wonderful opportunity to invite our family, friends and neighbors to join us; to discover this deep sense of joy in their lives and along the way on their journey as well. Please consider inviting someone to church this Advent season.
Have a very Joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year.