“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to gather with a few of our Stephen Ministers for a socially distanced outdoor luncheon. It was very different from our usual Christmas celebration, but beautiful in its own simplicity, much like our lives during this strange season. I shared with them a moment that is seared in my memory. Quite a few years ago, I was having a really bad day and I was acting a bit like Eeyore, grumping and grumbling to my friend, Barb over silly things. It was about this time in December, and she was so excited about all the plans she was making for the Christmas season, because for the first time in many years both of her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren would be in Florida with them for Christmas. She was talking about baking Christmas cookies with her grandsons, the presents she had chosen, the pool toys she had purchased, the new recipes she was trying. She was more excited than I had seen her in quite a while. Honestly, I don’t remember what I said to her that day, but I have never forgotten what she said to me. With a sad expression, she simply said, “Please don’t be a joy stealer for me today.” Ouch. From that day forward, I have been committed to limiting my joy stealing moments. There are some days that I am more successful than others. Instead, I am trying to be extremely intentional about being a joy scatterer.
This year especially, I am choosing it. Everywhere we turn, we are met with sadness, disappointment, grief, and loss. It’s important to acknowledge our own emotions with honesty and kindness, but it’s also important not to foist them randomly on other people. In other words, let’s not be joy stealers.
I ran across a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “There is no beautifier like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.” I am choosing to be a joy spreader this season. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly – that is what I call joy. So, this Advent season, Let’s be joy scatterers!
That we might grow in spreading joy to those who know sadness
O God of this day, awaken us to every moment as an opportunity to be savored with joy-tinged wonder. Empower us to be the kind of disciples who develop the gift of finding joy everywhere and leaving it behind us wherever we go. In the ways of Jesus. Amen.