“Long is our winter, dark is our night. O come set us free, O saving Light,” goes the old German carol. Grey and rainy Advent days make us long for a change of outlook.  As our world seems to implode with new violence and brokenness, what can revitalize  our hearts? Where is meaning in the midst of such confusion?

It’s the Joy. We have to remember the JOY that Christmas brings,  “good news of great Joy,” as the shepherds were told. It’s the joy that God is with us in our need and in our poverty. Pope Francis said “there are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.”  Am I one of those?  Have you read the Pope’s encyclical on the JOY of the Gospel?  Click here for a 60 second, 5 minute, or longer summary.  It will be a tonic for your soul.

JOYAt a local parish grade school last week for a vocation talk, I said to the children that God does speak to us, but not usually with words.  “So how do we know when we are hearing God?,” I asked.  “It’s the Joy,” said one little girl.  “And the Peace,” said another.  How true!