“…find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.” Robert Lewis Stevenson

How do you find meaning in the Holiday Season?

I'm exploring this question as Part III of my reflections on seeking a deeper meaning in this Holiday Season.  I’m using the Advent Wreath as an inspiration to guide my reflections.  I’ve posted on Hope and Faith.

This week, Joy.

What Joy means to me.

I admit that thinking about Joy and what it means in my life has been challenging.  I can tell you what happiness feels like; splurging on my favorite peppermint mocha at the first nip of winter, the parking spot that spontaneously opens up in a packed parking lot as I approach, and having a snowball fight with my nephew. These are genuine moments of happiness. Yet they are mostly dependent on external things and circumstances.

Joy is deeper.

Joy comes from deep within, not from outside.  Joy is that feeling we can tap into and nurture if we give ourselves permission.  But how can we feel Joy when there is pain, hurt, and disappointment?

I ask this question and my ears perk up as I hear the song, “O, Come All Ye Faithful” playing in the background.  It starts out,

“O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant…”  And there is the answer.

Faith and Joy Triumph over pain, hurt, and disappointment.

When we have faith, we can feel Joy even with pain, hurt, and disappointment.  These emotions are a part of life and can’t be escaped.   But too often we focus solely on life’s problems, difficulties, worries and fears.  Joy is the emotion that helps refocus us on the good if we choose it.

Joy rests on the foundation of Hope and Faith.  

Hope and Faith support us during the good and the not so good.  So often we give our voices over to negativity and complaining.  It's so much easier.  Instead, let's let Joy be an expression of gratitude for our blessings.  As Robert Lewis Stevenson says, “…give it a voice far beyond singing”.  Why not give Joy a chance?

I can tell you what Joy feels like for me. 

Joy is what I feel when my brother finds a long ago photo of me with my mom from our family camping trip.  My mom died 12 years ago this December and the pain of missing her is still there.  But even though there is pain, Joy fills my heart.  Memories live within our hearts and when we share them we share a part of ourselves. I am so grateful for this sweet memory that I’m "giving it a voice" and sharing it with you.

Look deeper. Find gratitude. That is where you’ll find Joy.

And remember...

Look within. Find love. That is where you’ll find Faith.

Look up. Find light.  That is where you’ll find Hope.

In Courage,


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