Called to Advent–rejoicing

photo by Josh Scholten

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Luke 1:47

(As servants of God)..sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 6:10

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.

John Calvin

Americans must be the most privileged people on earth yet we still grumble despite living in freedom in relative security. There is so little joy in our modern age of abundance. Is our cup half empty or half full? Why do we groan about what we lack and not stop to appreciate what all we have been given?

Rejoicing is expressing delight at what is, and having no regrets about what is not. There can be joy in times of sadness, we can be enriched by sharing what we have, and fulfilled without accumulating every material possession. As Augustine says: a happy life is rejoicing to God, of God and for God. He didn’t mention a larger house, faster car, exotic vacations, or the best plastic surgery.

So we read the words of profound joy expressed by Mary when her life is suddenly turned upside down and her body no longer in her control. She is happy and willing because she trusts the Lord despite all the unknowns. The shepherds, the lowest segment of society just above lepers, were first to be given a message of praise and glory from the heavens. Once their fear abated, they became so joyful and excited, they wanted to share all they had heard and seen with anyone who would listen.

It is our turn now. It is time to be gruntled, not disgruntled, happy to be alive instead of sorrowful, so we might rejoice mightily in the infinite gift we’ve been given.

This is it; there is no other.

And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.


Adoration of the Shepherds by Correggio