Today, this 3rd week of advent, we are yet to light and celebrate another candle. We started with the Prophet’s Candle of Hope, and moved to the Bethlehem Candle of Peace during our second Sunday. This week brings another essential needed amongst all humanity as we celebrate the Shepherd’s Candle of Joy. In Christianity this candle takes on a big meaning as the shepherd’s served witness to Jesus’ birth and emissaries of joy. Joy is something we can experience each and every day. Joy and it’s meaning varies from person to person, depending on what we perceive as joy.
The dictionary describes joy as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. A delight, jubilation, triumph, a rejoice. The Oxford English Dictionary claims to be better and defines joy as a vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction. It describes it as a feeling or state of being highly pleased or delighted. Joy is something we associate with spontaneous action. Joy can motivate us and help us aspire to great things. Is joy dependent on others and needs to be brought to us, or is it a state of mind, just as we can deliver joy to others. Perhaps the feeling of joy starts with us and it is something we can also gift to ourselves? My exploration of the Shepherd’s Candle takes me just a little deeper this evening as I contemplate the true meaning of joy. I am recalling ways it has impacted me and how I have used it to bring joy to the world and to others. Again, I ask myself to see what is, what is great, what can be changed and what needs adjusting. Today it is joy I am focused on as I sit by the fire remembering the last time I felt this vivid emotion of pleasure and satisfaction. It is joy and a spontaneous action that I want to pay forward to someone else this holiday season. Seeing their delighted faces will tell me all I need to know when the time comes. Maybe it is in the form of a present, a thoughtful notion, an act of kindness, a warm hug, a thought and wish of wellness sent across the miles. Maybe it’s in baked goods and a little extra cheer. Maybe it’s a matching pajama family party, or maybe I’ll sing Christmas Carols of the top of my lungs….mmmh…ok, I think I’m getting carried away from the Joy of life and Christmas, but you get the point. Have yourself a great 3rd Advent.