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JMJ - Joy to the World! A Message for Christmas or Easter?

Updated: Apr 2

By Kathleen Blanchard
Director of Family Discipleship, St. John the Evangelist Catholic
Church / Jackson, Michigan

Dear Parents, this one is for you!

I love Christmas! There is so much joy, even in the time leading up to the day and throughout

that season. But Easter! Oh, the level of JOY skyrockets exponentially to the point of

jubilation and exaltation. In fact, at the Easter Vigil, in the middle of a darkened church

building, illuminated only by the light of the Paschal Candle and those held in the hands of the

faithful, the first word spoken from the ambo is “Exult.” Here are some of the words from that

Easter Proclamation:

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,

exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,

let the trumpet of salvation

sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,

ablaze with light from her eternal King,

let all corners of the earth be glad,

knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,

arrayed with the lightning of his glory,

let this holy building shake with joy,

filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

Can you sense the intensity of JOY? Especially in those last two lines!

More often than not there are others who convey a message far better than I ever could.  In this case I defer to St. Pope John Paul II, the Great.  

He once said, “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”  When searching for the context in which he said these words, I found them as part of the Angelus Message delivered to the people of Adelaide Australia on November 30. 1986; Full text: Angelus Message, 11/30/1986, JPII in Adelaide, Australia

It is too good not to share with you directly!

“In a true sense, joy is the keynote of the Christian message"... my wish is that the Christian message may bring joy to all who open their hearts to it: “joy to children, joy to parents, joy to families and to friends, joy to workers and scholars, joy to the sick and to the elderly, joy to all humanity”

Faith is our source of joy. We believe in a God who created us so that we might enjoy human happiness - in some measure on earth, in its fullness in heaven. We are meant to have our human joys: the joy of living, the joy of love and friendship, the joy of work well done. We who are Christians have a further cause for joy: like Jesus, we know that we are loved by God our Father. This love transforms our lives and fills us with joy. It makes us see that Jesus did not come to lay burdens upon us. He came to teach us what it means to be fully happy and fully human. Therefore, we discover joy when we discover truth - the truth about God our Father, the truth about Jesus our Saviour, the truth about the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts.

We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery - the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!” We are not looking for a shallow joy but rather a joy that comes from faith, that grows through unselfish love, that respects the “fundamental duty of love of neighbour, without which it would be unbecoming to speak of Joy.” We realize that joy is demanding; it demands unselfishness; it demands a readiness to say with Mary: “Be it done unto me according to thy word.”

Mary, our Mother: I turn to you and with the Church I invoke you as Mother of Joy (Mater plena sanctae laetitiae). I, John Paul II, entrust to you the Church in Australia, and ask you to pour out upon all her members that holy human joy which was God’s gift to you.

Help all your children to see that the good things in their lives come to them from God the Father through your Son Jesus Christ. Help them to experience in the Holy Spirit the joy which filled your own Immaculate Heart. And in the midst of the sufferings and trials of life may they find the fullness of joy that belongs to the victory of your Crucified Son, and comes forth from his Sacred Heart.”

It is my hope that you find his message resonates with you in some way as we enter into the Greatest Season of the Church year, Easter!

Christ is Risen as He said!  Alleluia! Alleluia!

Indeed, He is Truly Risen!  Alleluia! Alleluia!


There are three outstanding preschools in the Jackson Catholic Schools System.  All three of our preschools provide a holistic educational experience, with a focus on the academic, social, moral and spiritual development of the children.  

For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact: 

Queen of the Miraculous Medal (Tinkey’s Tots): Liz Sharlow -

St. John the Evangelist: Marla Krueger -

St. Mary Star of the Sea: Nancy O'Neill-


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