JOY MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN OUR DAILY LIVING
(Friday, December 16th)
Finish: to bring to completion or issue; to come to the end of a course, task, or undertaking
Fulfill: to bring to an end; to develop the full potential of; to convert into reality
You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:11 NRSVUE)
Jim and I like Wordle so much that we downloaded the app for Duotrigordle. This game has 32 word boards with 37 guesses allowed! With each guess, we are shown the number of attempts remaining in order to win. This is where Jim and I differ. Once he knows he will lose, he stops playing the game. My disciplined nature compels me to play until all 37 guesses are used, even when I know I will not be able to get all the words. But once I realize I will not win, the game is no longer challenging, purposeful, or “joyful”.
I finish the game, but I do not fulfill the goal.
Let’s think about this difference between finishing and fulfilling as we reflect on Advent Joy today. Our Advent Joy comes when we sense that our lives have purpose and meaning, that we can make good differences while we are here, that we will not just finish at life’s end, but we will have fulfilled all we had hoped to do – and possibly all that God hoped for us to do. Our trials and challenges can even bring joy when we regard them as part of our journey, trusting that they hold lessons or insights toward the fulfillment of our purpose.
Our lives are precious gifts from God. We are here not just to exist, but to fully experience all the days that God graciously gives us. Advent Joy is ours when we seek to live as Christ would have us live, serve as Christ would have us serve, love as Christ would have us love. Advent Joy comes when our purpose is to not just reach the finish line, but to have run the race well. We may never know if we have fulfilled every purpose or accomplished all that we were meant to do. But Joy comes in our leaps of faith, our sacred encounters, our meaningful work, our generous hospitality, our humble service, and our search for God in all of this.
May Advent Joy be the impetus for this day – to love and serve abundantly in this life we have been privileged to receive.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle,
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
(Isaiah 55:10-13 NRSVUE)