Advent: Joy in the Darkness

Depression. Anxiety. Crime. Suicide. Darkness.
If you’ve watched the news at all during the past 3 years…
if you have teenagers….
if your teens have friends….
There’s not a lot of talk about joy. But there’s a whole lot of talk about how hard life is. 

So how do we talk about joy at Christmas? I’ve recently asked myself that very question. My husband of 36 years this month is gone. He’s never coming back here. I know he’s out of pain. I know he’s in a better place. But where does that leave me

Mental health professionals tell us the holidays are the hardest time of year for many people. It feels like we should be happy. But we aren’t.
Now what? 

Jesus promised joy. In a dark and evil society, he knew people were desperate for it. While forecasting his death and resurrection, Jesus instructed his disciples to expect joy: “​​Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow” (John 16:24, TLB).  

In 2019, the Institute sponsored an IMPACT team to empower young communicators for Christ and their coaches in Singapore, Malaysia, and the UK. While visiting London, we participated in a worship service at the world famous St. Paul’s Cathedral. We were all awe-struck. My husband had been hospitalized…again…while I was on that trip. I was anxious about so many things. 

Sitting in that cathedral, listening to the angelic choir in a building constructed in the 1600’s with state-of-the-art acoustics, I was moved to tears. Tears of joy. I was reminded of the millions of people who had come in contact with the joyful news of our Savior in that place. 

This is a small taste of what our team and I heard that day. If you can, close your eyes and just listen. 

Carol of the Bells is a song of joy. The tangible “Joy to the World” whose birth we remember at Christmas. 

I was reminded we are ambassadors of a message of joy. And sitting in that Cathedral, I was proud of the work we do in the Institute. I remember thinking: what if more winsome storytellers were ready to tell a story in which Joy personified came to live among us?

Who do you know who needs joy this Christmas? I want to tell you it’s possible to experience joy in the midst of grief, and pain, and hardship. That’s my prayer for you today.

Joyfully yours this Christmas, 



Sharing joy starts with being ready to speak. Find out how we’re helping students and adults do just that at the Institute for Cultural Communicators.


Dr. Teresa Moon, founding President and CEO of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, is an internationally-recognized seminar speaker, education consultant, author, and leadership coach. Each year, she travels globally equipping students, teachers, and parents to become “cultural communicators,” transforming ordinary students into extraordinary communicators and authentic leaders.


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