Seeing the Joy in Pink

I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. It began when I asked my dad a question about our Advent wreath. I couldn’t remember when we were supposed to light the pink candle…was it the third week in Advent? Dad confirmed that I was right, but then he told me why the third week is pink. “Look at the lessons for the third Sunday in Advent,” he said. “You’ll see that they are about rejoicing.” Sure enough, as I looked up this week’s Bible verses in my trusty old hymnal, I found this one: “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1-2    And so for the third week in Advent, we are lighting our pink candle.

Pink. Pink is the favorite color of many little girls, including Emmy. Pink is so loved that the children’s book Pinkalicious was a best seller and the basis for a kid’s musical and more books.  “Pink is perfect,” the little girl declares.

Thinking about pink and the joyful feeling it brings, I remembered the saying “through rose-colored glasses.” Why rose glasses? While there are many different theories on where this phrase comes from, wiseGEEK writes that one of them actually comes from the use of rose petals:

Another theory concerns early mapmakers and their special corrective lenses. Because map making required a great deal of attention to detail, mapmakers needed to keep the lenses of their eyeglasses especially clean and scratch-free. It is believed by some that these mapmakers would use rose petals to clean any dust or other contaminants from their lenses. The rose petal’s natural oils would protect the lenses, but often left a rose-colored stain. Therefore, viewing the world through rose-colored glasses would be the equivalent of focusing all of one’s attention on the smallest details and ignoring the realities of the larger world around him or her.

Does ignoring reality bring us joy? That’s an interesting thought. It’s definitely more of a challenge to feel joy when we  see the reality of life around us. The holiday season is joyful, but it can also be depressing and hard to see joy for some who have suffered a great loss. There have been times when I have burst into tears in the past week. Just decorating the Christmas tree was hard. My daughters each have a collection of Lenox ornaments from their grandma, and they are Lily and Emmy’s favorite ornaments. Emmy asked me why she only had two ornaments, and I barely choked out the answer. (Last year I looked for ornaments in their collections, hoping to continue the tradition, but I couldn’t find them.) Knowing I am expected to celebrate one more Christmas without my mom has been difficult–joyless. And I am not alone in this joyless feeling; I think about it as I drive by the darkened house of a man and son who lost their wife and mom suddenly, at a young age, to a heart attack just last spring. I think about it when I sit next to my choir partner, who lost her mom the same year I did.

This reality thing is hard to ignore.

Third Advent candle

Every night, our family has a tradition. We have three purple candles and one pink candle in our Advent wreath, and each week we are able to light one more candle. On the third Sunday of Advent we were finally able to  light our pink candle. Oh, the joy! Lily and Emmy were besides themselves over that little, pink candle. They sing our songs with such joy: “Hear us sing! News we bring! Jesus the Savior is born!” They want to dance; they want to sing; they want to lift up their voices! It is almost as if they are right there, at the manger’s side, rejoicing along with the angels and the shepherds!

These two little girls, who are by no means angels, are bringing the joy home.

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8 Replies to “Seeing the Joy in Pink”

  1. I love hearing about all the stories of things done during Advent. If you can believe this, I've been a Christian my entire life and had never heard about an Advent candle until just a month or so ago when I read it on someone's blog (maybe yours :)). This sounds wonderful. Great family memories are being made.

    1. My parents are the ones who started the tradition of the Advent wreath with our family growing up. It really is a nice tradition!

    1. Yes, you are so right, Liz! I'm very grateful that my mom was able to a part of Emmy's life, even tho it was for a short time.

  2. I don't even know what to say. This post was so powerful and so moving, and really so beautifully written, I'm lost for words. I'm glad you're finding light and joy, piece by piece, but I'm so sorry for the darkness that surrounds you this Christmas season.

    Thinking of you!

    1. Thank you, Emily! For not knowing what to say, your words are just what I needed. I'm glad you liked this post; it took me a week to write, just to express some of the conflicting emotions I'm having this Christmas!

  3. Conflicting emotions during the holidays are very tough to share about, and even to acknowledge to ourselves sometimes aren't they? It's supposed to be a time of joy and festivities and sometimes we feel anything but joyous. I find great comfort in knowing that's ok. Thank you for sharing about your conflicting emotions. I'm sorry your mom is no longer with you physically, but she is still surely very much a part of your life.

  4. So true that reality is hard to ignore, particularly around the holidays!

    The Holiday Season is a bittersweet blend of everything that is good and bad and mad and sad in our lives. Sometimes too loud, sometimes too bright, sometimes not bright enough. But in the end it ends up just right.

    Happy new Year!

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