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An Advent Calendar of Sorts - 22nd December

I found this RLS quote when looking online for a picture that described 'joy'.  I liked the quote better than any images I found!

I have preached about joy, and blogged about joy, many times before: about how it is not the same as happiness, about how it is resilient and defiant without ever denying reality, about how sometimes it is uncontainable, about how sometimes it is like that tiny candle flame that defies the darkness.

Yesterday morning came some good news that made my joy very effervescent!  A young woman in her thirties, who I got to know following her breast cancer diagnosis five years ago, gave birth to a son, her first born, conceived naturally despite chemo and hormone therapy... he really is a 'miracle baby' and from his first photo is really gorgeous.

Today my joy is different, because another young woman in her forties who I got to know at the same time had a very different story.  With probably the best predicted prognosis of the entire group, she was left infertile and, tragically, her cancer progressed to Stage 4, a journey that ended two years ago today.  A kind, generous, funny, wise woman who never complained about her lot and whose friendship was, and is, a deep and lasting joy.

When the news is full of tragedy, when people we love suffer and die, it can be hard to find joy... but the need to seek it is no less.

And the mystery of joy is, that even in the darkness it sometimes bubbles up, unexpected into delightful giggles, exuberant dancing, beautiful music... or simply a quiet, inner smile.

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