Collision of Joy

Merry Christmas, friends.

In Luke 2:8-14, when the angel appears to the shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth, he says it is “good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Yet in the next breath, after this glorious, otherworldly announcement, the angel tells them they will find the Christ child wrapped in rags in a rough manger, the feeding trough for barn animals.  Heaven and earth are colliding in a completely disorienting, yet joyful way.

Where might the wonder of Jesus show up in your everyday, incredibly earthy life this Christmas?  Take a few minutes to think about with Jesus the opportunities for joy in front of you today.  Perhaps this poem might help you notice your life in a different way.

So Much Happiness

Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records . . .

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.