I think the darkening of winter teaches us something important about a deep internal truth of the human condition. We all feel cold, we feel an large empty aloneness, we experience the eclipse of warmth and light and love. Harsh, harsh is the world upon the soft and supple flesh of humankind.
Amidst the dark and gloom of the winter night there are different kinds of portals we set up to remind us that beyond this there is something more profound. Stars in the night sky and pierce not only shade of night but also the shroud that gets around our heads. Fairy lights are strung up in preparations for the mass of Christ, the Light of the Word born in this harsh world. We set ups lamps and advent wreathes, and Christmas trees which glow and shimmer a warmth. And all of this is a kind of fight.
Its still Fall here in Kumamoto but the days have been getting darker. But I only reference this seasonal charade of shortening days as a kind of analogy. Its an analogy to what goes on in life and to what has been going on in my life.
Breakdown in relationships, stress, fatigue, and friction wearing on relationships still intact, the anxiety of navigating how to love one another. Is that supposed to be stressful thing? Too much work, never enough time. Setting boundaries against the narrative of slavery that wants to destroy both sabbath and sonship along with God’s image and Kingdom. I slip. I sin. Sleep comes thinner and sickness seems to spin around from head to head as it jumps on sneezes and halitosis ridden yawns.
Harsh is the world that presses heavy upon our supple flesh.
Nearby the ones I love most struggle to grasp meaning and joy. God,, Where is your God? The enemy mutters.
So I speak over my heartbroken soul,
For I know my God will break through for me.”from Psalm 42, TPT
Joy is a battle! Putting up Christmas lights, lighting a candle, clasping a mug of warm tea or soup, bringing a warm face to a downcast friend or finding a warm face for yours– these are acts war, or resistance against the onslaught of the cold, dark, drift of despair and assulting lies that say its not worth it.
Its worth it. “The Joy of the Lord is our strength.” Its the only way I have been able to find victory in this season is to fight with joy and when I don’t have it, to fight for joy. There is this profound, and wonderful truth that should undergird all of reality–God is fighting for our joy to. Jesus, crucified on the cross (“for the joy of set before him”)– He was fighting for joy. For your joy, for mine, for the joy of holy fellowship at the warmth of his table. He was fighting so we could know we are the beloved and rest on his chest, he fought to give us the cup of the covenant. Holy wow! There is joy in his presence, the fullness thereof.
To all my brave friends and fellow travelers out there going through life in this post-modern, post-industrial, overworked, 1%, bi-polarized, bickering, cold, petty, merciless, atomically armed, neo-imperialistic in both capitalist and communist iterations, (why do the nations rage in vain) world.
Peace. God is with us. There is joy in his presence. Fight to enter it, Surrender to His fight to bring you there, to infill you. Rest in it and then labor from it so your life can extend the deep and satisfying joy of being loved in God through Christ to battle-worn weary in your midst. We are all among them. And the right man is on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.