Joy, a profound reality bathed in suffering, rooted in touchable hope
“Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!” We sing.
“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).
The innocent newborn baby’s cry which gave tremendous joy to His parents mourns for the betrayal, the humiliation, the crucifixion, and Jesus’s own burial merely three decades later.
I wonder, if Mary and Joseph had known this beforehand, would that cry of baby Jesus bring joy?
But the angel said, “[…] I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
In our modern culture love is all around – so it seems. Considering songs hitting the charts, soap operas, movies, and pink heart-shaped posts on social media, you cannot help thinking that love is the currency of society. But aren’t we all experiencing something different? The pandemic stifles the hope of men and women, deprives them of their zest for life, increases isolation and loneliness... Aren’t these the opposites of love? Sometimes, people talk a lot about things they wish they had: more money, more days off, more good friends. More love, too?
Christmas Day is just around the corner. With mixed feelings, we’re looking forward to what will no doubt be a strange and awkward celebration. When year after year we anticipate being with family and loved ones, it seems unfair and painful we need to plan to keep our distance.
But maybe some goodness hides in that pain.
This month, we are so excited to officially welcome Maria Kausalainen as our new Director of People! We were able to catch up with Maria recently to ask her a few questions about her new role. Read below to find out more about Maria!
In normal times, the Lichthaus Cultural Cafe in Halle, Germany is filled with cafe visitors, concerts, and workshops. However, in these COVID-influenced days, things have become a bit more complicated. When contact with others is supposed to be limited and the cafe isn’t allowed to run as usual, it’s hardly possible to fulfill the Lichthaus’s core purpose-- bringing people into community. In response to this, the Lichthaus team came up with a new idea to connect people in December: setting up an Advent calendar in the windows of the cafe.
It seemed I found a million and one reasons to be frustrated today. The nurse at the doctor’s office spoke with contempt on the phone, I almost got backed into in the parking lot, there were too many people at the store, that lady didn’t return my smile. . . the list goes on and on and on. As I milled around the grocery store with the hundreds of other men and women (all in masks) who were doing their last-minute Christmas shopping, I was full of an attitude of disdain, frustrated over how many of them seemed to be ‘in my way.’ As a sense of the rottenness of my attitude began to wash over me, I considered what might change if I began to view my fellow shoppers as on the same team as I – all of us shopping together rather than me versus them. Then, a quiet, inaudible voice said, ‘They weren’t in My way.’
‘Maybe 2022 will be better.’ It seems like just yesterday (12 days ago, to be exact) people were saying the same thing, except about the year 2021. Already, this New Year has been fraught with continued political unrest, a stubborn pandemic, anxiety, depression, and an overall feeling of dismay. In response, it has been remarkably easy to automatically assume the entire year will be terrible while hoping next year will be better. The general attitude of many I have observed is one of unenthusiastic acceptance of the way things are while seeking to find happiness and relief wherever it might be lurking.