It’s Easter Sunday today, and while it doesn’t feel like Spring in my little swath of the Midwest since the snow is falling, Spring is here.
A close friend (otherwise known as the pastor of my church) asked a question today in his sermon.
The word nerd in me of course loves to learn words, and since I am learning other languages as well, here goes:
Joy is el gozo or la alegría in Spanish, my second language, both from Latin words meaning joy or happiness. In Greek, it is Χαρά (Chara), the same root word that we get charismatic from. In German, it is die Freude, which comes from an old Germanic word that also meant energetic and happy.
Of course, the first thing I thought of when I was asked the question was the Christmas carol, which of course is a bit apropos for today.
“Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, shall come to thee, O Israel!”
We didn’t have snow on Christmas Day, but right now, there is a bit of a blanket of white on the carpet of green that graces the front yard of my little home. Fat white flakes are falling from the sky. While it won’t stick around long, for the temperatures will be too warm in the coming days, the snow softly blankets the earth in some swatches today.
Despite the snow being a four letter word for some, including my dear other half, it is still magical to me.
But on to answering the question “How can we find Joy?”:
I find joy in the words I put on paper. I find joy in anything that screams unicorn or cats. I find joy wherever I find magic, since to me, the two are intertwined together. I find joy in making other people happy with little things, like a smile, a compliment, a little note or gift or good deed. I find joy in dancing like nobody is watching, whether it be in the midst of the floor at my full time job or in my living room on my days off. I find joy in the way a squirrel runs across tree branches or a robin hunts for food in the grass of my front yard. I find joy in the sunrise and the sunset. I find joy in the way the clouds track across the sky or the way snowflakes swirl towards the ground.
I try to find the joy in every day, even when it’s difficult.
Like Hope, Joy can be elusive if one doesn’t work on looking for it. To paraphrase my dear friend, joy is learning to dance in the rain (or snow) and finding something to be happy about despite the direst of circumstances. It’s looking for the miracles and the magic in the darkness, the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s kind of fitting that there was snow on Easter Sunday since there was no snow on Christmas Day here. It’s fitting because it helped me to focus on the setting of the Resurrection, especially with the images of new life pushing through the snow, of the backdrop of green underneath a blanket of white.
After all, the focus of the Advent season each of the four Sundays is Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
Every Christmas, we hope for the coming of the newborn King. We wish for heavenly peace for the sleeping child. We sing joy to the world and rejoice with the birth of a Savior. We whisper love in the gifts we give and the time we cherish.
It’s hard to see the death of Jesus when we celebrate his birth, but it’s there in the story that is written. Easter Sunday brings all of that full circle.
There is love on Good Friday, for God so loved everyone he gave his Son. There is peace in the quietness of the garden in the early dawn of the first day of the Resurrection. There is hope in the empty tomb as the disciples frantically try to figure out who has taken their Lord and see the folded cloth. There is joy in Mary’s face when she recognizes her teacher.
So as I watch the snow fall in my little swath of the Midwest, I see the joy. I see the hope. I see the peace. I see the love. I see the magic, just as I see the magic in the stories I write and the life I try to live.
Write your own story. Stay magical. Enjoy the moment.
I know I will.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory
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