Rediscovering Joy

Sunrise over Halifax
Sunrise over Halifax
This Christmas was difficult.  The first Christmas without Tom. My faith has been able to get me through all the other “firsts” of living without him.  Until this Christmas season. We have always enjoyed all the festivities and family gatherings of Christmas. Tom would light up the house with strings of color lights and we would tease him that our house was looking like the Griswold home in the Christmas Vacation movie!  But it was the Advent season that brought us to a deeper relationship with Jesus.  The songs of His birth and the special Advent devotionals led us to the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of a baby that is our Savior and Lord, making Christmas a very special day for us.
This year I knew we would still celebrate our Lords birth even knowing it would be difficult. Spending time with my children made my Christmas complete and we knew Tom was with us.  We said good-bye to some old traditions and started a few new ones. Without Tom to share this season, there was no more joy.  Or so I thought.
A few days before Christmas I read this verse in my devotional, “This day is holy to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” {Nehemiah 8:10}  When I read that my first thought was, “Where can I find that joy again?”
God answered on December 22 when our church held our Christmas Cantata.  The children’s choir sang and their voices sang loudly and joyously.  Singing loudly and joyously, all of them reflected God’s light.  That glimmer of light started to shine again for me.  When they were finished one child clapped and gave a happy shout, “yea!”.  The grief in my heart was soon replaced with the joy that came from the voices of children singing.  
God was not finished with me yet.  Our church holds two Christmas Eve services, the Family Service at 5:00 pm which offers child care and an early night for excited children and the 7:30 pm Candlelight Service for the rest of us.  Normally we do not see children at the 7:30 service but this year we were blessed with a few little ones.  As the service began, one child starting fussing, not to be out done, the second child joined in.  Then they started to babble – you know the sounds, the cute baby sounds that make everyone smile!  Sadly I cannot remember in detail what our pastor told us but from what I remember he told us that through these children we were blessed to experience what the shepherds saw all those years ago – a little baby crying. Those children reminded me that Jesus did come as a baby; He cried, He giggled and He cooed.  And like the Shepherds we were given an amazing gift on Christmas Eve, a chance to experience Jesus as a baby. Throughout the service these little ones made their presence known and with each little cry or giggle they  reflected God’s light that was beginning to shine brighter and brighter in my life once again.  
January 5 was Epiphany Sunday, our first hymn was “We Three Kings” and one young child sang joyously and loudly – his voice ringing out above the choir.  It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard – a child singing, making a joyful noise unto our Lord.
Joy had returned through the blessed children.
Each day I am rediscovering joy in my life.  Over Christmas is it was the children in our church.  A few days ago it was the crazy antics of our dogs.  Last night is was our bible study leaders meeting.  It was the sound of rain falling on my windows on a Saturday morning.  I found it today with new shoots on a spring plant that I have been taken care of all winter. Each day I discover joy seeing Tom in my children and knowing through them he will live on.  
The psalmist wrote, “This is the day The Lord has made.  We will be glad and rejoice in it.” {Psalm 118:24}  
If you are also going through a difficult time and the darkness has stolen your joy – Make the choice to rediscover the joy that is in each day and be blessed with all that is good, in Jesus Christ.


37 thoughts on “Rediscovering Joy

  1. Thank you Patty, you blessed me with this today. I too have found joy in the children despite my grief from losing my mom and mother-in-law. Christmas was just…different. Yet like you, despite my grief, I saw and heard Jesus in the children. (((hugs)))


    1. I am sorry about your dad. Bless your mom’s lonely heart, I am sure after 56 yrs of marriage she is having a difficult time. My prayers are with you and her. It took me 8 months although I still struggle at times to face the day.
      Blessings and hugs….


  2. I am so glad that you are finding joy again… and children somehow are often the bearers of it … Whenever i am having difficulties that verse is one I repeat if necessary over and over… and sometimes I sing the words and tune …. Diane


  3. Patty, this is a touching affirmation of the gifts we receive when we most need them. Your first Christmas without Tom was blessed by the “Yea!” joy of a singing child, and reinforced with the beautiful sounds of babies during the service. My grandmother firmly believed that the Lord cares and provides for both those who go on before and those who wait behind, blessing their love with affirmations and gentle assurances. Children and babies at Christmas were your gift.
    I’m sure I’m not saying this well, Patty. But as I read it I fought back tears, certain that you had been richly blessed during a time when you might instead have felt sad. You were in the gentle hand of God, truly comforted and provided for.


  4. Precious, precious children. God also used children to lift me up when I lost my husband through divorce. I never imagined that I would become a children’s leader with BSF a few months later and fall in love with teaching children. That was 15 years ago and the joy has only increased. We serve a wonderful God, Patty.


  5. Patty, I am so glad that you have been able to find joy again, especially through all those beautiful children and their voices. I love the way you describe the services with the children making their presence felt. I love how your Pastor made that a part of his service.
    Mat 2014 bring you more joy, especially as you see Tom in your children. X


  6. Patty – your joy is contagious. As is your faith. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your heart is so open to your love for Jesus, and all that you know of Him. It’s no wonder you are finding joy again. And finding Tom all around you. 🙂


    1. I am so sorry…that is indeed devastating. My prayers go to you and your son and daughter in law. It is hard to find joy when something like this happens as all of your hopes and dreams come crashing down. When the time is right you will all find joy again and that little one will always hold a special place in your hearts.


  7. Patty thank you so much for reminding me of this simple gift. We have been going through some rough times over here and you made me remember Who is really in control. I think sometimes we have to look back to love what is a head of us. It is wonderful to have a reminder of simple joy. I am smiling now. Blessings.


  8. Hi Patty,

    That was a very inspirational post.Your closing lines resonate and I quote, ” If you are also going through a difficult time and the darkness has stolen your joy – Make the choice to rediscover the joy that is in each day and be blessed with all that is good…” As I think of this, I wonder what structure do we need to create for ourselves to hold this consciousness always within us.



  9. To me, Patty, you have found the joy in your heart that never left. Sure, some traditions may have stopped but new ones begin – all with his love and caring shining through. And as you mention, Tom is in your children… and in you.


  10. Thank GOD for you Patty. I read your thoughts. It was very encouraging. A few days after Christmas of 2013, on 28 Dec, my Dad passed away. Mom and me are still struggling to come to terms with this. At times it looks as if things will never improve. I trust and pray that these difficult times too will pass. Thank you Patty for your encouragement


    1. I am sorry to hear that your father passed away – it is never easy and so hard to bear at times. I pray that your memories comfort you as they do for me. God bless you and your mother with the peace that only He can provide.


  11. I know this is an older post, but I’m very sorry for your loss. It can be tough especially during the holidays to not have our loved ones with us. This Christmas will be the first one since my mom passed last February…

    God willing, we will see them again one day!



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