Joyful, Joyful!


For you, Malala.

Many bloggers are writing about joy this week. After all, we’re in the middle of the most joyous season of the year. There are twinkling lights in the city squares, ribbons wrapping the columns of houses, and the smells of baking goodies wafting out of every door. My nearly 3-year-old son talks excitedly about the gifts he will unwrap on Christmas Day. While I watched him participate in song and applause at my church’s service this morning, my heart became fit to burst. It’s hard not to be joyful.

But I realize it’s not the same for everyone, or even during the rest of the year. Sometimes the car breaks down. Sometimes work becomes overwhelming. Sometimes nasty people get in the way. The kids get sick, the washing machine goes out (my house this week), the spouse becomes cranky and distant, and internal demons surface to fight your every step. At these times, it’s easy to sink into a pity-party state. You watch your neighbors drive up in their spotless Lexus or BMW, while your not-so-stylish Ford sits collecting pollen and paw prints in your crumbling driveway. Joy seems like a thousand miles away. Continue reading