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Sunday, 13 December 2020 07:00

3rd Sunday of Advent - Finding JOY Everyday

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It took me a while before I realised we can find happiness in the way we love and value ourselves. It is a great gift we can give ourselves and it is richly expressed in our psalm response today as we say, “my soul rejoices in my God!” The first reading from the prophet Isaiah confirms that our souls are filled with the Spirit – it is the joy within that allows us to bring good news to the poor and set captives free. Advent is a season of joy which invites us to explore ways we can find interior happiness.

One of the most unforgettable well-being sessions I attended was an introduction to a laughter workshop. I learned that our brain is unable to distinguish between genuine and fake laughter. Apparently, even ten minutes of belly laughter daily can help our health significantly. We may wish we could laugh our way through to healing all the wilderness experiences we face today, but it is also very important to acknowledge and feel the difficult situations.

Check, check, check. What else is on your to do list today? What kind of lists do you have? To do list. Christmas Shopping list. Chores list. Goals List. Bucket list. Dreams list. The list can go on but may I suggest adding another but a slightly different kind of list? Let’s call it a #Smileyst (pronounced Smile List, so smile! J).

May I share a few things on my Smile List?

  • Cheese pizza. Fried rice. Froot Loops. Plain cheeseburger.
  • Singing along to my favourite praise songs
  • Something green! The smell of freshly cut grass
  • Star gazing. Sunrise and sunset watching
  • Watching Disney movies
  • A baby giggling
  • Receiving handwritten letters

No doubt we all struggle in many ways but today’s second reading encourages us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God for everything (1 Thess 5:16-18) In my own sickness and sorrows, it was finding the joy of the Lord as my strength (Neh 8:10) that has given me the grace to have a cheerful heart as a good medicine and not have a downcast spirit that dries up bones (Prov 17:22) It is a humbling and ongoing process to be content with myself and ask the Lord to always increase my capacity to love and recognise the mystery of hs presence in all the gifts he pours out every day.

The Gospel today points us to the One True Light and Joy. His name alone will turn all our mourning into a joyful dance! Jesus. We prepare for the coming of Jesus who will help heal and restore so we rejoice! As John came as a witness, we too are invited to point others to Christ, through our lives and own experience of God’s love.  We turn to him in darkness. To be joyful is to appreciate simple things that gladden the heart. They don’t even have to cost anything; the Lord has given us so many free things around us to enjoy. There is always something to be grateful for.

Don’t be afraid to smile even when no one is looking. Real joy is deep contentment within the spirit. And we have been given an even greater gift. We can indeed rejoice and be glad that God who is the Giver of all things comes with the gift of Jesus, the True bundle of Joy.

Angela Uybarreta