Joy to the world….. or not?

Back around Easter time, I wrote a little blog post on the sentiment of Joy and how we can find it. I’m not going to go into detail, but I firmly believe that like magic, joy can be found everywhere.

But there is a question that has been looming in my mind this week of Advent… the Joy week. What if we cannot find joy?

It’s the holiday season, and many who celebrate Christmas are singing carols that have sentences like “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”, “Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,” and “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” Yet, for many, there is often no joy. There are struggles. There are inner demons we all must face. There are emotions that simmer just below the surface and battles we must fight, both physical, emotional, or mental. The holidays, as I have written in another post, are a casserole dish of emotions.

Some can not fight any longer and thus end their stories and their battles in manners of their own choosing. Others fight quietly and silently, their struggles only visible to themselves. Others seek out others to help them only to be ignored or disregarded or even belittled for their struggle.

In the mess of this world, often it seems as if joy can not be found.

Five years ago, I was struggling in this season to find the joy. My other half was battling a very serious infection that nearly cost him his life and landed him in the hospital for two and a half weeks over this joyful season (yes, he was there for Christmas). It was hard to find anything to be joyful about in an empty home or at the hospital, where every day it seemed something else was wrong. It was a nightmarish few weeks, and the struggle continued for months as he healed. But he did heal and he did get stronger and better.

Joy was there, even when it was hard to find. And I did find it. I had wonderful nurses who let me cry to them and reassured me. We had an army of friends and even family who made sure I was taken care of as I traveled back and forth every single day to the hospital and even after the other half was able to come home. Some helped to get the other half to his appointments when I was not able. Others made sure I ate and took care of myself so that I could take care of him. More left me words of encouragement in cards, texts, and phone calls. Both the other half and I were lifted up and reminded that we were loved.

In this season, even in this week of Advent where joy is sung to the world, those of us who are joyful despite our own periods of sorrow often strive to do the same for those who are hurting. Whether it’s writing a card to every single person we can think of, offering to help a friend who may be down or in the throes of a life-altering catastrophe, or just being a light in the darkness as we go about our daily lives, we strive to bring joy to those who might not experience it otherwise.

If you are struggling, dear readers, know that this darkness is just a chapter in the story of your life. Know that there are people out there who care for you and love you and want to help you find the magical joy in the mundane. Keep writing that beautiful story of yours, even in these dark chapters, because there will be better days ahead. I know you can’t see the joy through the tears, but it is there.

If you aren’t struggling, I challenge you to continue to be the joy in this world. Find the divine spark in others and love them for it. Be joy, exude joy in whatever magical capacity you can. Keep writing your stories as well, for they are magical and joyful and as unique as you are.

Stay magical, friends.

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And as always, #writeyourownstory

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