This morning's comic, Pearls before Swine¸ had this dialogue:
Goat: Hi Pig. I'd like you to meet my friend, Brian. He designs the autocorrect feature for all the texts people send.
Pig: That seems so complex. How do you know what word to change it to?
Brian: I find the most embarrassing and pick that.
Pig: That seems unfair.
Brian: PROGRAMMERS NEED JOY IN THEIR LIVES, ALSO.
This coming Sunday is the Rejoice Sunday of Advent, a break from the solemnity of Advent, to allow the joy of God's coming Son to enter our lives. I'm thinking that this programmer's joy is not what Advent joy is about.
Yet, I'm finding joy a challenge during this Advent. While the comics had this little bit of 'joy,' the front page of the paper announced a second double homicide this week. Earlier this week, a mother and her two-year-old were killed. Yesterday, two teenage boys were killed in the middle of the afternoon. How can we know joy this week?
Last week, 14 people were killed and 21 people wounded in San Bernardino, California. The week before that, a man opened fire at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, killing a police officer and two civilians. How can we know joy this week? When horrendous news surrounds us, how can we know joy?
I've turned to the psalms: "Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning," David prays in Psalm 30. David knows that pain and sorrow are part of life, and yet he looks to the time when joy will come. Our hope comes from knowing that this sorrow will not last. This may be our now, but this now is not our only. Things will change. Killings will stop. Joy will come with the morning.
And, maybe in the meantime, rather than focusing on the national, or even local news, we look even closer to what is around us. The joy of a child's bright smile. The joy of Christmas lights twinkling on pine trees. The simple joy of a cat purring, or a dog greeting you when you arrive at home. The joy of the call from a friend, or an email from a sibling. The small, simple moments of joy can sooth the weeping during the night.
If we allow these joys to enter in, the joy of the coming of God's Son just may find a path into our hearts.
My hope is for the joy that will come with the morning.