It usually happens without warning. Unexpectedly, a memory is triggered and a song you hadn’t thought of in years surfaces. And once the tune finds its way into your brain, you can’t shake it. I had this experience last weekend and a song is still cycling through my head. I’m not complaining though. Let me explain.

My wife and I were trying to record “Joy to the World” for a virtual church choir effort. We cued up the music, put on earbuds, positioned the camera, and pressed record. All was fine initially, until I accidentally misspoke one word. That was all it took. For some reason it caught us off-guard and we laughed until we cried. Trying to recover was a challenge, but after several attempts we finally got through the whole song.

That night I noticed I was unconsciously humming a different tune I hadn’t sung since I was a child, and once I became aware of it, the words flooded my brain as well. “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” It was true. We had found the joy – and it only took one small encounter to find it.

This year, many life events have been overwhelming. The pandemic, work responsibilities, civil unrest, politics, and other challenges have dominated our time and focus – and in the process, robbed us of a great deal of joy – at least, on the surface.

This holiday break, to the extent you are able, I recommend you shift your focus away from factors that stress you out. Bake cookies. Listen to music. Watch a football game or Hallmark movie. Set up a virtual Zoom with family or friends. Uncover the joy. Trust me. It’s there, just waiting to be uncovered.

PS – In case you are wondering – I said the word “womb” instead of “room” – completely changing the meaning of that line from “Joy to the World.”