Friday, January 4, 2013

Joy: Eleventh Day of Christmas

Joy to the world! The Lord is come: let earth receive her king;
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.

With “Joy to the world” in our hearts and minds, I invite you to join me in looking each of these twelve days for instances of the joy that runs through all of creation, especially through experiencing the beauty and wonder of God’s world.

The image of living water is familiar to us from Scripture. There is something about a flowing stream of water that we connect with life and abundance. In the darkest part of the winter, when parts of rivers, streams, and lakes are covered with ice, the sight of water flowing evokes a feeling of joy.

Some of these streams and rivers would be completely frozen most Januaries. An interesting thing we humans do is to welcome abnormally warmer weather this time of year but bemoan it in the summer. Seeing partially frozen streams on sunny days with temperatures around 30 degrees is familiar to us, even if we might more usually see this a few weeks later. It doesn't seem as “abnormal” to us as similarly unseasonably warm weather trends seem in July or August, when the heat hits a less familiar range. So even when we know in a more abstract way that our warmer, later winter may ultimately not be a cause of joy, the sight of running water in January feels like a sign of life and hope to us. It evokes deep-rooted images and archetypes formed when the climate was more stable. And it remains true in this part of the country that the sight of a gently flowing stream is always a gift.

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let us our songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, repeat the sounding joy.

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