Joy in Transition


We continue our Advent series on transition and waiting. This past Sunday the theme was joy so our team member Bec shares some reflections on joy drawn from her own life.

Do you remember getting ready for school in the morning when you were a little kid? It wasn’t always a smooth process, inevitably an item of clothing would be missing, you’d spill toothpaste down your clean school jumper or your leggings would be the type that fall down round the waist but are too tight at the ankles.

I remember the toe curling frustration I felt at such minor challenges and my Mum kindly reassuring me that I was doing great and I had a choice, a choice to be joyful. I feel like I probably wasn’t always very gracious at that suggestion to ‘choose joy!’

Now I have a six year old daughter who struggles with similar dilemmas in the morning, especially on these dark days, and needs almost daily encouragement to keep moving ahead through the tasks of morning transition (sometimes with joy) and relinquish her cosy pyjamas, onesie or blanket.

Perhaps it is mildly sacrilegious to move from writing about morning routines to the birth of Christ but I really love that advent gives us a chance to come face to face with the very real, nitty gritty, humanity of Christ on Earth. The smells, sights and noises of being born in a stable! Have you ever wondered what Mary was thinking as her labour advanced and she found herself with no choice but to squat down and deliver her baby, the hope of the world, into the straw of an animal shelter?

It’s difficult to imagine what Mary’s joy would have felt like when she faced the magnitude of motherhood in such tumultuous circumstances but then maybe as she looked down and checked the fingers and toes of her newborn she wasn’t so consumed with those big picture thoughts but was instead engrossed in the moment?

I find my own sense of joy can feel shaky when I’m faced with what is going on in the world, the injustices of war, mental health crises, even the poverty of some of my neighbours. I feel bereft at my own helplessness to change these things and wonder, how am I meant to keep going in life when instead of toothpaste on my jumper I’ve become aware of suffering in a whole generation? It is in these days that I am reminded of my Mum’s gentle reassurance, that ‘I’m doing great and I get to choose joy.’ Since those childhood days I have learnt that gratitude and making a literal choice, in my thoughts, to choose joy has become my greatest weapon in life.

As we journey through the second half of advent together let us remember the reality of what we’re celebrating, the very real joy of Christ’s birth. May I encourage you to choose joy in those moments of uncomfortable or frustrating transition and join in declaring –

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness
and wonders of His love,
and wonders of His love,
and wonders, wonders of His love.

Back to all