Joy. Isn’t it what we all want? Joy that lasts forever; not the fleeting joy that comes and goes with the circumstances of our lives?

I have had a good life, all things considered. But I have longed for joy. And with the losses of our babies this year, more than anything 2017 has un-earthed my desire and longing for joy that lasts.

It feels evasive. Impossible. Too much suffering, in my life and the lives of those I love. Despair says there’s no reason to have joy — sorrow will inevitably come and snuff it out. Why pursue that which does not last?

I cannot say yet from personal experience what its like to have that lasting joy — but I can say that I believe it is possible, and that I have tasted of it today, this Christmas of 2017.

As I realize the stunning statement that is, tears spring to my eyes. This week, I have been knee-deep in my grief, and yet today, despite the fact that my husband has been out sick for the last two days, despite the fact that this week, I have been mourning my lost babies, despite the fact that some of my family is far from me, despite the fact that so many others in my life are grieving, struggling, lonely, longing…today, God has given me joy. And deep down, I know that this is His joy; joy that comes from seeing all I have.

Loss has a way of doing that — showing both the depth of your emptiness and the riches of what God has already supplied. I hug my dear children close to me; I sit before our fire and beautiful tree with presents surrounding it, and I see what He has given me: love — most importantly, His love, which will never ever, no matter what happens, leave me.  I am secure in His love.

And He has given me the love of so many among my family and friends; two precious, healthy children; a husband who knows me, loves me, cares for me more deeply than I will probably ever know.

And He has given me forgiveness for my sins, known and unknown, past and present and future,  — I have forgiveness that gives me relationship with my God, my Father, my Creator, my Savior, and my King. How much richer can I be? Truly?

This joy He has given me today — I must stop to count it, to reckon that this too is the joy that comes after the mourning; a ray of the rising sun upon my grief. There will be hard days ahead, no doubt. But today, I know, I have His love which holds me and keeps me…and gives me joy.