This third Sunday in Advent we have lit the candle of Joy in the Advent wreath. Joy is a word we hear used a great deal in this season. It is a favorite word in Christmas cards, tree ornaments, and decorations, much of the time proclaiming cheer or happiness. . Misuse could dull the edges of its meaning for me, but I claim its numinous mystery once again in my Advent heart. Here it has been used to repurpose a vintage picture frame by adding paint the colors of Christmas, whimsical design, and drawer pull handles that look like checkered tea towels. it is a happy combination. But the center of Joy speaks more to the truth of the word. A single snowflake tells the story of infinite possibility, unique creation, beauty, and peace.
Joy is more than happiness. The Greek word is chairo, described by the ancient Greeks as “the culmination of being” and “the good mood of the soul.” They said that it came only from God and came with wisdom and virtue. They believed its opposite was not sadness but fear.
That is why the Joy candle burns brightly tonight. That is why Joy to the World Is not just a hymn to be sung at Christmas. Joy to my world.! Joy to our world!