Friday, December 7, 2012


Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I came to a profound realization. If ever I am lacking in humility, I will simply play Boggle with my brother. Despite being a certified bibliophile with an annoying vocabulary, I absolutely, positively stink at playing Boggle.  One round found my brother scoring 35 while I weighed in with 1, that's right 1 point.

My sister-in-law, while not quite as proficient as my brother, also completely schooled me. However, she was kind enough to offer words of encouragement along the lines of, "You just need to play it more often and you will start to know what patterns to look for." Yeah, I have a wonderfully kind sister-in-law.

What I did learn was how important little words are. Three lettered words become so crucial.

In a faith where we toss around consubstantial, Eucharist, ecclesial, transubstantiation, and even our short words like laity and chalice hail from a different age, simple short words get lost in the shuffle. Boggle taught me that can be dangerous.

I'm not even talking about some obvious ones like soul, love, faith.  I'm going even smaller - three letters - joy.

This is a busy time of year for us in the Church. Advent ministries and programs flood our schedule. Personal and professional obligations loom like an oncoming avalanche. Yet, if nothing else, this time of year should remind us of the simple, but so crucial idea of joy. Our God rejoices in us."I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete." When Jesus says this in John 15.11 it is such a simple yet incredibly profound statement.

Despite the chaos that is life right now (which includes a nasty headcold), I am trying to live with joy. I am trying to have that joy be contagious (unlike the headcold).

"Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord, your God is in your midst, a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you."
~Zephaniah 3.14,17

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