Theme – Joy
Joy is an attribute of God’s divine love. To reflect God in our family life, we are called to be joyful by developing our relationship with Christ.
From Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia
The expression “chaírei epì te adikía” [“rejoice over wrongdoing”] (1 Cor 13:6). Has to do with a negativity lurking deep within a person’s heart. It is the toxic attitude of those who rejoice at seeing an injustice done to others. The following phrase expresses its opposite: sygchaírei te aletheía: “it rejoices in the right”. In other words, we rejoice at the good of others when we see their dignity and value their abilities and good works. This is impossible for those who must always be comparing and competing, even with their spouse, so that they secretly rejoice in their failures.
When a loving person can do good for others, or sees that others are happy, they themselves live happily and in this way give glory to God, for “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Our Lord especially appreciates those who find joy in the happiness of others. If we fail to learn how to rejoice in the well-being of others and focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence, for, as Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (acts 20:35). The family must always be a place where, when something good happens to one of its members, they know that others will be there to celebrate it with them.
- What are some joys we have experienced in our family? Are there ways to build upon these joys to create a more joyful home?
- In what ways could we add more joy to our family? Could we be more cheerful in giving and complain less? Could we focus less on our own needs and more on the happiness of a family member? Could we rejoice in our family’s love by affirming each other more with compliments? Could we smile more at our family members?
- Do we base our lives on the joyful awareness that we are beloved sons and daughters of God, or do we let something rob us of the joy of the Gospel? What is it that robs us? Is it anxiety, fear or impatience? How might prayer help with these things?
Scripture Reading - Psalm 33:1-7, 20-22
A prayer of praise and rejoicing before the Lord
Rejoice, you righteous, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.
sing to him a new song;
skillfully play with joyful chant.
For the LORD’s word is upright;
all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right.
The earth is full of the mercy of the LORD.
By the LORD’s word the heavens were made;
by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound;
he sets the deep into storage vaults.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
he is our help and shield.
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
May your mercy, LORD, be upon us;
as we put our hope in you.
Put joy into practice by singing together advent and Christmas hymns, hosting an advent or Christmas party with special treats, and reading a Christmas story out loud. The story could be Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or a book more suitable for young children, like The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola.
Also consider creating a family book of favorite religious hymns and carols. Have each family member choose a song that they enjoy and make copies to share. Then sing together advent and Christmas songs at times that are convenient. For instance, a family could sing before its family prayer, before bed, before lighting the advent wreath, before opening presents at Christmas, or at another time. If you have young children, sing a few simple songs to them so they can begin to learn the lyrics.