Advent 3: The Greatest Joy…

Our third candle is lit this week and we meditate on Joy.

I remember very vividly a feeling of great delight that swept over me when I turned a corner in Rome and saw the Colosseum looming  larger than life.  It was my first sight, in many years, of a famous landmark that Romans drive past everyday on their way to work without giving it a second glance.

I thought,

‘Wow!  Would I do that eventually if I lived here long enough?’

Probably!  And what a great shame that would be!

I was brought emotionally to my knees by the sight with a feeling of astounding joy.

Wanting to hang onto the euphoria Hubs and I stopped at a small cafe and ordered cappuccinos.  As we sipped our coffees staring at the ancient ruin the initial impact of joy had faded leaving behind awe and appreciation but no longer the gut wrenching joy I had been surprised by.

Is there anything on earth that will produce lasting delight?

Not the spark-for-a-moment that I had just experienced?

When we are promised joy in images and songs,

services and products,

relationships and money,

we are, in reality, buying into these empty promises of ‘happy ever after’.

If our hearts are not tuned to God, the secular way can result in a sure pathway to anxiety, disappointment, depression and isolation.

In Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis writes,

“We can create situations in which we are happy, but we cannot create joy.  It just happens…Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is.”

Like my Colosseum experience.

Recently I’ve had an experience that brings a yearning in my heart.

It comes in the form of an incense Hubs burns in the evening.

It is called Rain and each time I smell it burning a memory tries to wade through all the memories I’ve accumulated;

I can’t for the life of me attach it to the why it brings me a feeling of familiarity, safety, comfort, peace and joy.

C.S. Lewis puts it better than I,

“It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton’s ‘enormous bliss’ of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to ‘enormous’) comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what?…Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse… withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased…”

I find myself holding my breath to keep the desire just there, on the edge, like a word on the tip of my tongue;

Joy on the edge of my awareness.

Lewis calls Joy,

“An unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction…something that would not be changed for all the pleasures of the world.  Always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be.'”

True joy can only come when I put my trust in God.

It cannot be gained from mortals or worldly goods.

This third week of Advent I am meditating on Joy as I anticipate the arrival of a notable person.

This person is the one who can give me the Greatest Joy

that isn’t fleeting,

Jesus Christ Himself.


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2021-12-22 18:42:53 Reply

So, So true! God Bless!

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