In the Church Calendar, we are in the season of Advent, which is a time of preparation for Christmas. Each week is assigned a particular theme (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love), and liturgical coloration–weekd one, two and four are traditionally purple, and the third week is rose or pink. Sunday, December 13, was the third Sunday of Advent, and the theme for this week is Joy. I found some quotes that I felt might be apropos for the theme and shared them with my little congregation. Please note that they do not necessarily mention the word, Joy. I will give the credits, such as they were where I found them.
First let me offer some of the synonyms I found for the word, Joy, and there are a bunch.
Joy: delight, pleasure, enjoyment, delectation, gladness, joyance, happiness, felicity, beatitude, blessedness, exaltation, rapture, bliss, ecstasy, ravishment, transport, excitement, thrill, charge, rush, gaiety, gayness, sunshine, cheerfulness, gladsomeness, cheer, levity, blithness, mirthfullness, hilarity, jocundity, joviality, jubilancy, elation… (J.I. Rodale, The Synomnym Finder)
Just a whole lot of ways to say Joy, that I hadn’t considered.
The early Twentieth Century revivalist, Billy Sunday said, “The trouble with many [humans] is that they have got just enough religion to make them miserable. If there is not joy in religion, you have got a leak in your religion,” which follows my thinking that most religion focuses more on fear than on Joy. If you ain’t dancin’ in the aisles, you ain’t prayin’.
I found a Native American saying, though which tribe I never learned, that says, “… the soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.” A good thought for those who think that their lives should simply be non-stop happy, with no bumps in the road.
The next three have to do with our own choices for Joy.
“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” (Carlos Castenada)
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. (Marcus Aurelius)
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I — not events — have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. (Groucho Marx)
It seems that unless we are clinically depressed from a chemical imbalance in our brains, we can choose whatever we wish to have as our life’s paradigm: fear, discouragement, discontent, hurt, or Joy. I especially like the quote from Groucho, “I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” Yea, Groucho! My choice, too.