‘Joy to the world the... [fill in the blank]….'
Around this time of the year we are subjected to the monotonous sound of Christmas carols gently caressing (or bombarding) our ears in shops, cafes, malls, waiting rooms and the like, the subtle seasonal anthems of consumerisms agenda.
While we scurry around trying to finalise our plans for what is generally considered to be ‘family time’, the last thing we often feel is JOY….the delight, jubilation, exhilaration, elation and euphoria that is supposed to be aligned with Christmas. Maybe we need to pause momentarily and consider the lyrics of the muzak that sits in the background subliminally influencing our consciousness. What if this season is about Joy, even when it can be surrounded by the sorrow that is forever embedded in life. How do we find a modicum of joy amidst all this pressure and anxiety that this season can throw at us?
“Joy to the world…” is a famous hymn that speaks about the birth of a baby that breaks into our earthly narrative to offer hope to those of us who are in need of a new perspective of life. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of new life to remind us that dread and the dreary reality of existence is not a true reflection of all that is going on.
“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” ― Mark Twain
Joy is more than an emotional moment. It is a meal eaten in the company of others, a shared experience that opens your heart and imagination to the possibility of something different. While I can find joy in my personal moments of delight it is always enhanced in the presence of those who offer me an alternate reality.
When joy shows up she invariably lifts my spirits and transports me to a place that I could never fully get to on my own, those intense feelings of well-being and happiness that occur when the pleasure centres of the brain are functionally linked. Maybe Christmas is about looking for the links (people, moments) that stimulate these centres, unlocking euphoria which etymologically means to find ‘wellness’ or the ability ‘to bear’ under adverse circumstances.
Actually, joy is the all-round panacea for every season of life that offers us an elixir that has profoundly magical qualities. We don’t need to try and manufacture it in some kind of contrived fashion but simply let her muse like qualities engage with our hearts and awaken the elation we need. JOY hides in the fabric of all pain and pleasure a constant reminder that it has always been ‘coming to us’ showing up in the world of our existence when we least expected it, in order to garner our attention and enable us to live fully alive.
The [fill in the blank] song lyric is ‘the Saviour has come’, the rescuer, liberator, champion that breaks into our consciousness to take centre stage and recalibrate our lives.
Joy is a saviour that needs to be constantly animating our lives, an ongoing liberating force that carries us to places of euphoric wellness in order that we might know the pleasure of all that life should/could bring.
JOY: Mick Jagger & Bono
Oh joy, love you bring. Oh joy, make my heart sing
And I drove across the desert. I was in my four wheel drive
I was looking for the Buddha. And I saw Jesus Christ
He smiled and shrugged his shoulders
And lit a cigarette
Said, "Jump for joy, make some noise
Remember what I said." Oh yeah
My soul is a like a ruby
And I threw it in the earth
But now my hands are bleeding
From scrabbling in the dirt
And I looked up to the heavens
And a light is on my face
I never never never
Thought I'd find a state of grace
Hey joy, love you bring
Oh joy, make my heart sing
Oh joy, joy in everything