The Search for Joy

Below is a reflection from Rev. Gerald E. Murray on the Advent theme of joy. It’s from a longer article from First Things you can find here.

“The search for joy in life is a frustrating experience for those who do not seek that joy in the Lord. Entertainment is a commonly sought substitute for joy. Certainly there is a place for entertainment in our lives. But fleeting diversions and delights are, in the end, merely faint hints or foretastes of the otherworldly happiness found only in that other, invisible world we yearn for, whether we realize it or not. Everyone seeks happiness, yet true happiness is elusive. It requires faith to understand that everything here on earth is provisional and, in greater or smaller measure, unfulfilling, yet indicative of the joys that await us in paradise.

Our secular Christmas season is in full swing, even if it has been renamed “the holiday season.” Incessant television ads exhorting viewers to “buy yourself” this or that expensive item during the “holiday sale of a lifetime” because “you deserve it” confirm the narcissistic stupor of our age. A self-consumed materialistic focus in the weeks leading up to Christmas is the world’s poor substitute for the chaste, restrained joy of waiting for the Lord’s coming in a penitential Advent spirit. He is the giver of the true gift that will bring us unsurpassed joy—the gift of himself.”

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