Monday, Dec. 12:
AM Psalm 41, 52; PM Psalm 44; Zech. 1:7-17;
Rev. 3:7-13; Matt. 24:15-31
I’ve wondered what it was like for Simeon and Anna to finally see the promised
Messiah. Advanced in years, both of them had an intense reaction to the
Christ child being brought into the Temple in Jerusalem—Simeon blessed God
and then blessed the Holy Family, while Anna gave thanks to God and began
“to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
(Luke 2:38) The depth of emotion must have been nearly unspeakable. The
words of blessing and thanksgiving must have come flowing out of their mouths,
from the recesses of their inner being, prompted by the Holy Spirit. Does this
What would have been their reaction had they been alive a mere three plus
decades later to witness the One for whom they had praised God being flogged,
being dragged, being humiliated, being crucified. The horror of it all could only
have led to the worst kind of unspeakable sadness. Does this define Sorrow?
Our human experience with which the Christ, the Son of the Living God, is so
familiar contains situations which lead us to both extremes on the spectrum of
emotion. Does it mean that to know the heights of joy we also have to know
the depths of sorrow? How much must we relate to Isaiah’s Man of Sorrow?
What does it mean for us to be acquainted with grief? Is there any other way
for us to know the joy without living through the sorrow?
Perhaps the question should be framed in a different manner. Joy, being part
of the “fruit of the Spirit” cannot have its foundation in emotion. Joy must
transcend our human heart so prone to be unreliable and take us to a place
where only He dwells. Joy must be part of what transpires when the Holy Spirit
is with us in the pit of despair. Joy—if translated for us by the Spirit—must be
in step with any sorrow that is to come. If this were not true, how could the
martyrs throughout the ages have withstood the pain and suffering that was
their cross to bear?
May we savor the moments this Advent season where the emotions are sweet,
while we seek the higher knowledge that we gain from living in the fruit of the
Spirit—especially its joy
(Today’s exercise: If possible, do something fun, even if briefly. Or read or watch or do something that would bring you laughter. Share laughter with another person. Pray simply but in faith, “Lord, grant me joy this day.”)