I was standing at a store waiting patiently for my turn to check out. Or so I thought. The woman at the register suddenly looked a me and said, “Can you smile?” I suppose the tiredness of a long day and a busy season was showing.
Then I come to this Sunday’s lesson from Philippians. (Click here to read it.) “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.” I’m not a natural rejoicer. I have to make it a choice.
Paul was not naive about this. He knew that rejoicing doesn’t come naturally to many of us. He also knew that life was often hard, full of pain, loss and disappointment. His own life was punctuated by beatings, opposition, rejection, and betrayal. And he was under house arrest when he wrote this letter!
Yet, not only does he tell us to rejoice always (not just when we count our blessings), but he repeats the instruction, making sure we are paying attention. I believe it is the only time in all his letters that he repeats an instruction like this. This is obviously very important to him.
Rejoicing effects our whole being. We carry ourselves differently. We walk with a ‘spring’ in our step. We release endorphins into the bloodstream. We respond better to challenges and difficulties. And we are, perhaps most importantly, reminded that all that comes to us is a gift to be celebrated!
This column appeared in the December 16, 2018 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.