Sunday, December 14, 2014

Have Yourself a Joyful Christmas

One night, recently, we drove to Auburn to meet our daughter and bring her home after her last exam of the semester.  We listened to Christmas music on CDs.   The darkness coupled with the tears in my eyes made driving rather hazardous.

Earlier, after April and I discussed my anger and depression getting the best of me that day, I realized how purposeful such days were for me in the past.  Days of inner pain that led me to act decisively to go on leave from ministry and resign subsequently from a managerial position approximately 16 years ago brought me to seek and find our God as one who speaks.  He spoke to me then words of life and mystery, and I received light to my path.  Upon realizing the similarity of feelings of years ago to what is recent and what is pending, joy came to me.

I have not always known joy at Christmas time as an adult.  Several weeks ago, addition to having Christmas trees in my dreams (a positive image according to those who interpret), I experienced spontaneous moments of joy related to Christmas out of the blue. Lately, its ended while a subtle level of depression grew.  The moment of realization of the inner pain motivating me years ago to act and settling me into a place of hearing God's voice profoundly cast a light on what is happening now. 

Regardless of the description and similarities, joy has returned, and with it, hope.

As we made our way in the darkness on US Hwy 431, we listened to James Taylor's rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry, Little Christmas."  The phrase that caught me in a instance with joy and hope was "May your hearts be light. In a year, our troubles will be out of sight."  Alleluia.

Some say this song is melancholy.  That night, I found it wonderfully joyful.  It expressed hope.  May all who hear this have a merry, little Christmas.  Your expectations could be high, but, most of all, may your hearts be light.  This coming year will change all the current troubles to memories. 

My tears were not sad or mournful.  My tears, as I drove (and slowed down so we wouldn't crash) and listened and rejoiced, were drops of joy.  God was speaking to me.  This song has been my favorite secular Christmas song for years.  God used it to express to me, again, joy and hope have returned.  I can prepare myself for what is coming to us and our world.  I can expect there to be opportunities upon which to act decisively. 

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.

O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
    restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
    his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.
. . . You have turned my mourning into dancing;
    you have taken off my sackcloth
    and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
-- Psalm 30: 2-5, 11-12 

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