Well, it’s 10 O’clock, and everyone is in bed and it’s finally quiet so I can think. I’m trying to stave off some bug that’s decided to give me a dizzy-headache and sore throat in the last hour. Hot tea and lots of vitamin C I’m hoping will do the trick.
Today, joy. The third Sunday in Advent the preacher preached on joy. And I’m glad he did it the way he did. Cause it’s not that easy. It’s not a health and wealth gospel the joy of advent speaks of. It’s not, “Jesus will make you happy.” Or, “Jesus will give you what will make you happy.” It’s, “Jesus, Man of Sorrows, he knows. He knows you. He knows what caused things to not be the way their supposed to be: sin. And He came to take care of that problem. And believing that about Him brings something much more real than circumstantial happiness, something you can bank on, something warm and hopeful in you even when you feel sorrow: joy. Real. Lasting. Unstealable. Joy.”
I’m glad he did it the way he did it because honestly, I walked in that building today and when he asked the congregation if we had to pic an emoticon what would we be, I mumbled, “Depressed” under my breath.
It comes like a heavy fog that rolls in. There’s no control about when or how or why. Depression is a real deal that I’ve been dealing with for awhile now. And for the past several weeks it’s fog has been gone. Really gone. Light and pleasure and smiles and singing have filled my days even in the mundane things that can get a person down. But a few days ago it rolled in again. I felt it. I did a little inventory to see why. Is it a female hormone thing? (Note to self made about what day it fell on the calendar). Did I forget to take my medications? Is it my diet? Am I eating too much junk? Could be any and all of that and more. But this time, when it rolled in, I did not mindlessly keep wandering through the fog. I pulled over and preached to myself. “Self,” I said, “Why are you so downcast? Put your hope in God!” And then I sang it. Out loud. In the kitchen.
“Why so downcast oh my soul. Put your hope in God. Put your hope in God. Put your hope in Go-o-o-d. Why so downcast oh my soul. Put your hope in God. And bless the Lord oh my soul. Bless the Lord. He’s the lifter of my countenance. Bless the Lord. He’s the lifter of my head. Bless the Lord. He’s the lifter of my countenance. I will never be ashamed…”
The fog didn’t clear. But I was OK with knowing it was there and that, as in the past, it would clear. I’ll wait it out. The joy in me is the hope of Christ: He came. He destroyed sin and death’s power over me. He is committed to conforming me to the image of the Son and He has given me His Holy Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing that when I see Him, I will be like Him and I will be fully alive and live fully with him perpetually and not one drop depressed. No fog. No sin. That’s the joy of Advent. It’s massive. It’s greater than all our sorrows. It can handle sorrow and depression and loneliness and grief and pain. It knows Who came and Who’s coming again.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. -Psalm 30:5