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Joy, Peace, Hope


Joy, Peace, Hope. That sounds like a Christmas card, doesn’t it?  A Christmas card in October? That’s okay, because it’s always good to remember that there is nothing seasonal about God’s wonderful and life-changing gifts. At any time of year, joy, love, wisdom, peace, forgiveness, and hope flow freely from His grace. His gifts shine like a light in the darkness, leading us toward conversion whenever we open our hearts to receive them. Sometimes conversion happens at the speed of light. Other times, it moves at a snail’s pace so that collecting all of God’s gifts takes a lifetime. That’s how it has been for me, a life-long process.

When I was much younger, I had a deeply-spiritual friend who was dealing with unfair criticism from a mean-spirited co-worker. When she told me that she was determined not to let the stress take away her peace, I realized that I had no idea what that kind of peace felt like. For a long time afterward, I prayed for inner peace. As my conversion progressed by baby steps, I came to experience many of God’s marvelous gifts, but peace still eluded me.

As I learned to trust in God’s goodness, I discovered JOY. I always thought happiness was pretty wonderful, but joy is amazing. Joy is deeper and richer and even comes with background music; Christmas carols seemed to be playing in my heart. How wonderful to find myself humming Joy to the World in the middle of Summer! On one occasion that I remember well, I was on my knees digging in the garden and humming Hark the Herald Angels Sing when I thought to myself: “If Jesus walked up to me right now and told me it was time to go, I wouldn’t hesitate to take His hand.” In that instant I knew what PEACE feels like, the peace that St. Paul says, “passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). It had been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. Later I realized that along with peace came a gift that, for me, has been even better: HOPE. St. Paul called it, “eager expectation” (Romans 8:19) How wonderful!

Does it seem like JOY, PEACE, and HOPE are in short supply right now? If so, try taking a look at these hope-filled readings for the Holy Days of All Saints and All Souls:

“For in this hope we were saved.” (Romans 8:24)

“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” (Psalms 126:5)

“The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them… they are at peace… their hope is full of immortality.” (Wisdom 3:1-4)

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured  into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

Don’t wait until Christmas to look for JOY, PEACE, and HOPE. God’s gifts don’t belong to just one season, and the words of Joy to the World are uplifting and beautiful any time of the year. “Let every heart prepare Him room and Heaven and Nature sing!”


1 thought on “Joy, Peace, Hope

  1. I’m so impressed. I can’t imagine how much time, effort, and love you’ve put into this. Your knowledge of Bible passages alone had me quite ashamed. I will try to read a few each week until I have read all of your blogs. God bless you dearly for these beautiful words. I hope it has put joy in your life again.

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