Joy All Year Long, and Even in the Midst of Sorrow

Penny and William on Christmas morning 2011

I have a new post up on the Huffington Post religion page, reflecting on the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the sadness so many of us have felt this past week, and the anticipation of joy. It begins:

I was walking home from the playground on a warm spring afternoon. My oldest daughter Penny, who was six at the time, ambled along nearby. I could hear her singing to herself, but I wasn’t sure of the tune until she revved up the volume for the line “God and sinners reconciled!” Not exactly what I had expected, but I shouldn’t have been surprised.

For those of you who don’t sing Christmas hymns all year round, this line comes from “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” My kids have been requesting it before bed since last December, along with the other “Christmas church songs”: “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Penny and her younger brother William know at least two verses of each by heart, and I routinely hear William making up songs that include the words joy, peace and Jesus.

My kids sing about Christmas all year round, but when the actual season approaches, truth be told, it wears me out. The bedtime message of hope and joy that we repeat night after night doesn’t get old, it’s just that in December I feel like I have to produce said hope and joy via tinsel and stockings and molasses spice cookies. The tragic events in Newtown last week only made it more difficult to muster up cheer and good will.

Click to continue reading Joy All Year Long

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).


  1. Becky Beaubien says:

    Beautifully written…yes, it all wears me out too and I wonder often if in it we lose the true meaning of this glorious day. But, the joy in my children’s eyes reminds me of the joy I should feel all year long. I too am thinking of all those families and praying for them in this Christmas season.

  2. Went over to read it and really appreciated your take on why you include the non-religious songs as well, AJ. I do too, because I love those songs and enjoying the world God has put me in is one way I celebrate the world he came into himself as a baby so long ago. Even “Santa Baby” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Please Come Home For Christmas” have spots on my playlist.

  3. jandrprinsen says:

    This makes so much sense to me. I remember in one of C.S. Lewis’s books, he talks about a little boy who wrote a poem about Easter and it began something like “Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen!” The idea being, what could possibly be better than celebrating Jesus’ resurrection AND eating chocolate? It’s kind of the same with Christmas isn’t it?