When asked to do an article on the theme of Joy, I had ear marked this weekend to cross it off my ‘To Do’ list, writes Sr Julianne Murphy RSJ. Little did I know my week would bring the death of an uncle on Monday and a call to a suicide on Friday. So, Joy… what about it?
Despite the sadness today, moments of joy are ever present with me too. I recall earlier this year, a photo I took of Zynomie, who is shown is this photo, when he wrote his name for the first time. I also treasure this image of communal joy when the first rains broke here after a long Dry Season. And, the joy Andrew and I had when the Crows made the grand final!
No doubt you all have photos collections like these of joyous moments. … joy in your corner of the world.
Christmas is a season of Joy and consequently it is one of the themes for Advent. It is neither a denial of sadness or a blindness to the reality that I have experienced this week. Joy is real and, as the song goes, ‘Joy to the World the Lord Has come’. Jesus has come to both moments of Joy and moments where it is difficult to see joy.
Jesus did come, and He wants us to know that He’s going to take care of us no matter what happens. One of the names that He was called, long before he became known worldwide, was Emmanuel meaning, “God with us”. And I’d imagine that, like Zynomie, he would have shared Joy when he wrote his name for the first time too!
Joy is appreciating that all that we have, all that we are, and all that we will be comes from God, the Creator, who is still creating.
For the moment, this Aboriginal Community where I live will go into Sorry Time, but they tell me very clearly;
Don’t worry Sister, he is with Ngapuny (God) now. He in peace, and we are sad now, but we’ll be all right. We look after each other.
Happiness will always come and go for this community as they come to terms with their loss, but the joy of Christmas – God with us, is always present in their hearts.
This Advent, let’s turn our corner of the world into places where we have GRATITUDE for moments of JOY, and celebrate with what the children at my school call a fireworks clap.
Joy to the world! The Lord has come.
Julianne Murphy rsj
This story was first published in the Mary MacKillop e-News.