My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
I cherish these songs of our foremothers, sung when still in the shadow of unknowing, facing a personal future that is fraught with questions, uncertainty and the possibilities of pain and disappointment in the roads that are stretching out before them. Yet each of them is following the Psalmist’s injunction to “Take Joy!” no matter what the present moment looks like, because they are accompanied and empowered by the Holy One in every turn in those roads.
As the blueness of Advent lingers, I am challenged by Mary and Hannah to take the joy of God’s world while still in the dark. I think of William Blake’s observation: He that kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise! I muse on places and ways to kiss the joys as they fly by:
- the variety of human beings that I encounter–people of various hues, wide-ranging ages, different intelligences, off-beat senses of humor, gifts of voice, body and intellect
- beauty of the created universe–skies, with and without clouds; oceans that move to an unseen rhythm, exhibiting a color palette that ranges from dark gray to bright blues and greens; animals that inspire awe and provoke gales of laughter
- random acts of kindness and mercy–a helping hand across a dangerous intersection, an interpretive word that clarifies, and undivided attention to one who is otherwise ignored
- stances of dignity in the face of appalling rudeness, unkind words and outright slander
- faithful presence when all others seem to be deserting the shared enterprise, and faithful words and actions that incarnate Jesus’ command to love by feeding and caring
But Mary’s and Hannah’s songs call me to a joy in things unseen yet–the promise of the Holy One to be savored in God’s good time:
- a justice that will prevail for those who dwell on the margins
- a recalibration of the power balance to bring joy and fulfillment to those who have been systemically excluded
- an ethos and enactment of Holy mercy for all of God’s creation
- a blessing on the most unlikely, the least favored
- a helping Presence that both remembers our provenance and hold our future in secure hands
I find joy in anticipating God’s intended rule, and in celebrating, or kissing, the joy of each moment that is an intimation of the greater to joy to come. Even in Great Blueness this Advent, there is joy!
Kisses to the joys now and the Joy that is to come!