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Choose Joy


“11 days left!” That’s what I have been hearing each day as that number gets smaller and smaller, sending a surge of anxiety through my body each time an excited child feels the need to remind me. I quickly take a deep breath with a long, slow exhale and gently remind myself “it all gets done.” 

 

What I struggle with this time of year is finding time to enjoy the joy that we are so busy creating for everyone else. What I really want to do is sit and meditate each day on the spiritual meaning of this season—to reflect upon the light that came to dispel the darkness. But late nights do not translate into early mornings where I can be still before the house awakes.  

 

This is a season where ironically joy is not always the first emotion we feel. The mental load is heavy, and grief and loss come to the surface. Even if we know some of these stressors aren’t that important and are not what really matters, we still feel the weight of getting it all done.


How to Find Joy

I decided that I am not going to let this season pass me by without finding joy every day. Much like contentment, joy is found in the small things.

 

LOOK FOR JOY

For me this week I found it on my walk on Main Street, admiring the holiday lights and festive decor in shop windows. I found a moment of joy at 8 pm in the supermarket, just strolling peacefully alone, listening to Christmas music piped from above. Joy is all around you if you look for it. 

 

CHOOSE JOY

Finding joy and appreciating it has become a sort of gratitude practice. Although joy can be a feeling, with the uncertainties of life being the norm, joy is more often a choice. We can choose joy by doing the things that help to bring joy in our lives and into the lives of others. I wrote about those practices in my book. I’ll also be talking about them this week on social media and on the TODAY show this Wednesday, December 20th, between 9-10 am in your time zone. 

Finding joy and appreciating it has become a sort of gratitude practice. Although joy can be a feeling, with the uncertainties of life being the norm, joy is more often a choice. We can choose joy by doing the things that help to bring joy in our lives and into the lives of others. I wrote about those practices in my book. I’ll also be talking about them this week on social media and on the TODAY show this Wednesday, December 20th, between 9-10 am in your time zone.


SPIRITUAL PRACTICES AND JOY

As for my spiritual practice, it may not look consistent these weeks, but I am finding moments of stillness and reflection when I can read through the book of Luke and realize life was hectic even during that first Christmas. Uncertainties, stressors, and challenges set the stage for the miracle we celebrate today...and still, in between them all, there were moments of beauty and joy.

CREATE JOY

I challenge you to look for a little joy every day. If you don’t see it, you have the power to create that moment. Maybe it’s reaching out to a friend, a walk through a lit neighborhood, a holiday movie on a chilly winter evening, or sitting by a pine scented candle and breathing deeply for a few moments in the stillness.

Joy is much closer than you think.

Wishing you peace this week and many small experiences of joy along the way.

 

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