What gives you joy?
I don’t mean what makes you happy—though cultivating happiness is a vital part of life, certainly. I mean joy: that unshakable, hopeful bliss that comes from the depths of your soul.
For me, it’s usually the absurd response to a real problem that causes no harm. My friend Evan told me about the Clown Brigade Bike Lane Liberation Ride in New York City a few years ago. There’s bike lanes all over Manhattan, and people will double park in them and block bicyclists. (I mean, their intention is not to block bicyclists, it’s just a side effect.) The Clown Brigade rode around, giving fake tickets and also running into cars because they’re clowns—they don’t understand how to go around. It made a point, it caused no harm, and it created positive change. (If you’d like to see a video of them, click here.)
I think joy comes from doing that which is right and just without relying on evil or oppression to get the job done. Throughout Scripture, that idea comes from a holy kind of foolishness, and I argue that foolishness and joy are unbreakably linked. But so, too, are joy and repentance.
This Sunday is Joy Sunday in the season of Advent. It’s why we light the pink candle. (Which is a story in and of itself for another time.) But as the lights shine brighter and we prepare for the arrival of Christ, we may have to find our way back to following. Which is good, I promise; the prophet Isaiah speaks of a way that no one can get lost on, not even fools, clowns or the joyful. I look forward to seeing you Sunday, don’t get lost!