The other night we were driving home on our gravel road. I was a passenger, my son was in the back and my husband drove.
As we got closer, I saw something running in front of the car. Rather than dashing across, it took a lead position and kept a few feet in front of the car. Worried it was one of our cats, I said, “Careful! Is it one of ours?”
“Honey, we don’t own a raccoon,” said my husband. We all broke into laughter.
“Well, thank goodness we don’t. Seven animals is enough,” I said. “I can’t imagine how chaotic it would be adding a raccoon to our mix.”
I’m grateful to be known by people who love me and accept my weaknesses.
This week in Advent is focused on joy.
Joy to me isn’t quite the same as happiness. The feeling of being happy can be momentary, as in, “Oh! You brought me chocolate! I’m so happy!”
Joy can come mixed with challenges. Parenthood is a joy, but doesn’t always make people happy in the moment. Joy comes from recognizing the holy and being grateful. Things might be rough but joy is always available.
Horatio Spafford, the writer of one of my favorite hymns, It Is Well with My Soul, lost his son from scarlet fever, faced financial ruin after the Great Chicago Fire and then lost his four daughters from a shipwreck. As he traveled the sea near where his daughters died, he wrote the words, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
That wellness of the soul is the joy of a God-centered life.
I can’t see in the dark. I might mistake raccoons for pet cats. But I can tell joy when I see it. Coming home with my family, laughing as we go, this is joy.
May you be blessed with joy this week!
God, give us eyes to see your goodness,
strength to do your will and
bravery to accept your grace.
How do you enjoy your life?