(Thinking about Advent 3C, still.)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:14-17, NRSV)
My Baptist grandmother (she was my mother's mother) was one of the most aggressively joyful people I've ever known.
Right up until the moment she was not.
Her determination to be joyful might have been a sort of spiritual discipline. I admired her energy when I was little, but she seemed to be plugged into something I did not understand.
I did understand music, and I liked to sing with her.
"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart." She sang that one a lot.
"I've got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart." It's a lot of words to squeeze in, they go by so fast you have to hurry and can you even perceive what the words mean? The peace that passeth understanding–I'm sure I did not know. God's peace, so complete and full and high and wide that we cannot even understand it, can you really hold it down in your heart while singing a rather raucous song? It felt almost like a cheer.
Give me a "P!"
In this frenetic season, I'm looking for places to fit in a little peace, a little joy, a little gentleness. Are you finding any? I don't think we can achieve it aggressively. I think we have to sit still and let it find us.