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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Advent: Season of Joy

Advent is a time of "waiting for Christmas". This can mean a frantic time with long lists of things to do, presents to buy, excited children, parties to go to... excitement and anticipation, yes, but so much stress and hurry as well.

Advent - waiting for Christmas - can also mean a reflective time of thinking about what Christmas actually celebrates: the coming of Jesus, a fragile baby born into a politically dangerous situation. Insignificant as that sounds it is the turning point of the world. Even our calendar counts the years since that day! Traditionally the four weeks of Advent focus on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
Today I'm thinking especially of Joy. I've recently finished reading a book I may have quoted from earlier: The Book of Joy. 
Two amazing men in their 80's talk together for a week about joy. It is one of the best books I've read and certainly the best one to make joy a realistic experience even in the hardest times. They have both been through great challenges both personal and political. Nothing they say is glib or simplistic. They come from two different religious traditions. What greater hope can there be than hearing from these two seasoned spiritual practitioners about the ways joy can be the deep foundation of even the most difficult life. It would be a wonderful Christmas present to give to someone you love - and I hope that includes yourself!

Table of Contents includes:
The Nature of True Joy
Obstacles to Joy
  Fear, Stress, Anxiety
  Frustration and Anger
  Sadness and Grief
  Illness and fear of Death
The Eight Pillars of Joy
Joy Practices
  (This section is very practical with six specific ways to implement what has been written about.)