Joy!

Today, I will meet with my newly formed Toastmasters Group. My role today is Toastmaster, which means I will basically keep  the meeting moving forward, introducing speakers and overseeing the proceedings. It will be a fun meeting, as usual, as we celebrate our newly chartered club and our last meeting of the calendar year.

Last week, I chose the theme “Joy!” for today’s meeting.

On Sunday, churches all over the world lit the third Advent Candle, the pink candle, the Joy candle.

Advent Wreath 3

On Sunday morning, I was not feeling very joyful. The weekend had seemed sad in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre. In addition, there seemed to be many sad situations in the lives of our congregation members.

The thing about Joy, though, is that sometimes you just have to find it. On Sunday morning, I found it where I always do: by spending time with kids.

After the early service, I went to our church nursery, where I was greeted with a chorus of small voices and some sweet hugs and offers of slobbery food. We had just one young lady for the Sunday School class I was teaching that morning, so eight year-old Jacey and I took a couple of Christmas books to the porch of the church and sat in the sunshine and read them together. At the late service, the children came up front for our children’s message and were delighted to find that I had wrapped the baby Jesus from my Children’s nativity (that means it’s non-breakable and I’m glad to let kids play with the pieces) in tissue paper for them to open. They were so excited to see the whole nativity and touch the pieces and tell me who each piece represented. After church, several of our youth group students gathered to bake cookies and make candy together and we had so much fun, we stayed an extra hour there together. For a group of students who were feeling burdened with this week’s final schedule at their schools, it was a joyful afternoon.

Sometimes, you look for joy and you find it. You might find it temporarily in money or possessions, but those things will eventually fail you and they won’t solve the problems that arise. But if you look for small doses of it in the good things God gives us–maybe children, friends and family, sunshine and chocolate–you will be able to have joy in all circumstances.