A special DEVOTION from Maureen Hafso, a Kuriakos Camper
Thanks to Maureen for sharing some thoughts with us this year!
“JOY TO THE WORLD” OR BAH, HUMBUG!
“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy. . .”
“Wait a minute! Don’t you know what year this is?”
“Well, yes, but…can’t I sing this anyway?”
“How can you sing about joy in the midst of a pandemic? Don’t you know the current state of affairs? Life as we know it has been shaken to the core!”
I think most of us would agree with this statement. Our lives have been shaken up and the notion of joy seems like a foreign concept. But should we feel guilty if we feel moments of joyfulness?
In October, I completed an online study on ‘Joy’, presented by Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen of Minnesota. In one of her statements she said that “Christians feel guilty about lament and guilty about joy”. So where does that leave us? The events of this past year have certainly had the ability to crush our spirits and steal our joy. Dr. Madsen makes a strong correlation between joy and lament and says we cannot experience one without experiencing the other. She boldly makes the statement that “Lutherans are allergic to lament”. You may choose whether to agree or disagree with this. The point she was trying to make was that “we need to acknowledge all the suffering around us to experience joy”.
So how do we bring Jesus into the picture, or rather, how is He working in us? In Psalm 30: 4-5 it says, “Sing praises to the Lord, Oh you his faithful ones and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favour is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning”. (N.R.S.V.)
Our present circumstances don’t change the story about the baby born in a manger. Dr. Madsen said, “We are called to be ambassadors of hope and joy, bringing it into our suffering”. In the Christmas story, Jesus personifies that hope and joy and brings it into a hurting world.
As our thoughts turn toward Christmas, we may have to take a longer look at the cross. If we can look beyond the twinkling lights and tinsel, we might be able to experience the true tidings of comfort and joy!