Advent - Week 3 - Joy

Dear friends,

We’re nearly halfway through our Advent journey, and we are waiting…hoping…expecting that the day of God’s realm of justice and peace and mercy and love will come. As we continue to wait/hope/expect, this Sunday we light a candle for joy.
There is much in life that would temper our joy, much that goes “wrong” in life. People get sick, relationships go bad, tornadoes strike, wars rage, humans hurt other humans. If our joy depends on our life being easy and things going well for us, the odds are against it being a lasting joy.
Instead we need a sturdy joy, a joy that digs its roots down into the ground of God’s earthy grace. Something about this poem by Mary Oliver speaks to me of this kind of joy.
It was early, which has always been my hour to begin looking at the world
and of course, even in the darkness, to begin listening into it,
especially under the pines where the owl lives and sometimes calls out
as I walk by, as he did on this morning. So many gifts!
What do they mean?  In the marshes where the pink light was just arriving
the mink with his bristle tail was stalking the soft-eared mice,
and in the pines the cones were heavy, each one ordained to open.
Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
Little mink, let me watch you.
Little mice, run and run.
Dear pine cone, let me hold you as you open.
Wishing you Advent blessings of joy, and hoping to see you on Sunday.