JOY!  Advent Week Three

“The Joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

I love this scripture. Twila Paris has a song about it, and I remember singing and dancing to it at contemporary worship services. Joy always assures me that good, love, and possibility are ever present, and I get to celebrate them. I believe spirit, congruence, vision, intention, and choice aid me in choosing the hope that allows me to connect with God and pray for peace/resolution to any sadness, obstacle to grace or discordance I experience. Joy surprisingly shows up within or because of those prayers, and my heart overflows with gratitude. Thus, and so…and so it is. An amen, perhaps?

Joy is the fullest expression of a life fully-embraced. Not to be confused with “happiness”, Joy gifts different opportunities: Presence. Wholeness. Atonement. Grace. A knowingness that all is well and all will be well, no matter what….and” Isn’t that wonderful?!—Wow!” Joy can not be randomly chosen, it must be sought, lost, and found. It is a gracious gift that surprises, delights, and takes advantage of adventures into unknown spaces. I sat before our Christmas tree, (our first Christmas tree in our new home) and felt overcome with joy—it welled up from deep inside me, beyond words, music, description. Joy often enters my heart that way.

When I’ve dealt with sad and tragic adventures in my life, the assurance that God and Joy were on the other side of my fears, pains, longings, and grief were the hopeful sustenance that carried my hope and courage. Kahil Gibran, in one of my favorite books, The Prophet, reminds me that joy and sorrow are bedmates—when sadness is present in my life, joy is waiting to make her grand entrance! My life has known much sadness. I am grateful for the gift sadness has brought to my being because it created infinite room for Joy—to show up, prosper, bless and nurture.

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

In past blogs, I’ve written about my friends, Nancy and Jane. Nancy is my dear, close friend who always lives from Joy and Blessings. She focuses on the Joy part of life and inspires me greatly. She is truly a joy and blessing in my life. My friend, Jane, always signs her letters and e-mails, “EnJoy, Jane.” I asked her about it, and she said she did that signature because it reminded her to choose joy. She told me she believed it to be the highest vibration for inspirational living. Her sculpture, “Luna’ is a symbol for joy at her home in Virginia.

I’ve written about the joy present in the pause of the breath. Our breath can create joy when we choose to breathe it into our awareness.

My favorite Joy pause was about my brother, David Charles Hohlfelder, and the joy he brought to the world because of the presence he embraced with his joy-filled spirit. His son, Samuel, turns 24 today. Sam’s Dad would be so joyful witnessing the joy and possibilities that grow within his now grown baby boy. Happy Birthday, Sam!


Life is arbitrary. What we grow into and who we become are what we seek. With grace, good, love, and possibility, we can grow into the JOY we were created to witness, embrace, and gift to our world.

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.


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