2021 Advent Devotional: In the Midst of Changing Ways – Many Gifts, One Spirit
Week 1: The Gift of Joy
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9 – “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you.”
Reflector: Binx Selby
Looking back in an analytical way at the moments of joy in my life, I find they seem to always spring from my experience of love. They seem to arise out of loving someone or sharing a smile with someone, or something like feeling the awe and beauty of the desert. But maybe that is not quite it, not exactly right. I think that joy is the activity of loving when I’m doing it without expectation or condition. That is joy. So joy, in my experience, can be a fleeting moment, or the length of a walk in nature, or even something that goes on for days. But joy usually happens more often when I have time and space in my life to connect and be present.
A while ago, joy in my life took a quantum leap after a lesson from our friend Doris. She is gone now, but a couple of years ago she told me about a salesperson who was helpful and kind to her. When she was done answering Doris’s questions, Doris asked the salesperson to call her manager to come out and talk to them, which she did with some trepidation, I am sure. Doris greeted the manager, “I just want to let you know how fine an employee you have, and how helpful and kind she was to me.” Doris’s story has completely changed my ordinary daily interactions with the people I meet. Stopping to look at them, connect with them, and appreciate them turns a rushed errand into a moment of joy.
Prayer: God, the Source, how can I thank you for putting Doris in my path, and giving me the gift of being able to love so that I can experience joy in union with you? Teach me how to be a source of love in more of my interactions with others, even to the point of loving my enemies. Amen.