“Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard’s face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.”
Last week I decided to re-read a portion of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, knowing it would rekindle in my heart the Advent themes of hope in the midst of darkness, peace in the midst of chaos, and love in the face of hate. I had forgotten there are also these moments of joy flowing beneath the depths of sorrow, until I read again above quote.
Those words come at one of the darkest moments in the story: the power of the enemy seems insurmountable, the expected heroic rescuers are missing, and hoped-for allies become fearful obstacles. And yet in the face of Gandalf the wizard, beneath the care and sorrow, is a “great joy.” The source of that great joy is a confidence in the coming king, and the ultimate triumph of good, no matter how intimidating the present evil.
This Sunday, which is both the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve, we wonder at the joy that comes with Jesus. “Fear not,” shouts the angel, “for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The coming King, the ultimate triumph of good, has arrived. Rejoice.
Come rejoice with us at our 10:30am Advent IV service, and our 5pm and 8pm Christmas Eve services. Remember the 5pm service will have a children’s homily, and 8pm service will have incense, and both services will have music and chanting and great joy for all the people.
Your Pastor in Christ,