Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Finding Joy In The Season


I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy

Down in my heart (Where?)

Down in my heart (Where?)

Down in my heart...


This song has been on replay in my head the last few weeks.  The word “joy” resonates in this holy Advent season. It’s literally everywhere, from the decorations hanging in our homes to billboards along the highways.


The pressure is on. Weeks of Advent programs, holiday specials, gift exchanges and parties.  Hours of special Christmas episodes of our favorite shows. Limitless Christmas carols on the radio all insist that we find the joy this holiday season.


And I agree.  


We need to find joy because Advent is intended to be a time of joyful preparation. Like children, we need to experience a moment of joyfulness in each day: delight, jubilation, triumph, exultation, exuberance...they are all within our reach if we focus.


But let’s face it, none of us can attain the all-problems-solved, wrapped-up-in-a-pretty-bow,  idealistic Hallmark Channel Christmas.


No period of time can pass without its moments of difficulties, stress and painful experiences.  

The goal to be happy and content every moment of every day is not attainable.  


I believe that we will all find a time during this season where the pressure of a perfect holiday season will wear us down.  


And then, we will find our joy. Because it is waiting for us.  


Pope Francis wrote an entire apostolic exhortation on joy: The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium), where he reminds us that even through tears of anguish we can find moments of hope “with a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew”  (E.G. 3).


Many of my friends and loved ones are looking forward to starting 2018 anew. I pray that in each day they can look past the pain of the past year and find joy, either in beloved memories or new experiences,


I pray we find patience with ourselves and continue to search for the joy, especially in moments of great difficulties.  In the words of Pope Francis, “Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved” (E.G.6).


I pray that our diocese continues to welcome our new Shepherd, Bishop Siegel.


I pray for all of our young people in the community, that they can continue to help us show joy through their eyes.


And I pray that our churches are full this season with congregations joyfully celebrating the birth of Christ. I hope to join the choir in singing loudly (but in my case, a bit off-tune…)


Joy to the world! The Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.