Third week of Advent, Joy...

Joy, a feeling of extreme happiness or cheerfulness, especially related to the acquisition or expectation of something good.

So, by definition, one doesn't have to have said item/feeling/guarantee but only a thought, or expectation of said, joy bringer. The difference between happy and joy, is bigger than it would seem at first glance. Joy is always, happy is temporary. Happy is an emotion, joy is a process. Learning the difference between the two, changes who we are, at our very core.

I Peter 5:10 says, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. Those words bring joy to one who is able to receive them.

For 28 Christmas's, Jesus was not, the Reason For The Season. He was nowhere to be found. I was more than fine with that. Santa was my rock, my source of happiness and he did a mighty fine job. I might have described it as joy but in the true sense, it wasn't the love or gifts of Santa that brought joy. In the 34 Christmas's after that, Santa was still there but it was the first time I recognized the difference between happy and joy. I had a hard time separating the two and incorporating them both into my life but with years comes the experience of understanding you don't have to figure everything out. Just be.

It is joy that makes it possible.
It is the joy that keeps us hanging on.
It is quite simply, the promise of Christmas...