Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Flurry can be the mixed bag of precipitation which here in Minnesota has fallen from recent skies.

In another observational sense it's the collective stir and action of getting ready for the December holidays.

The seasonal bustle that manifests through multiple events on the calendar, special baking which goes on, shopping for presents, gift wrapping, and all the festive touches lavishly bestowed, is hopefully giving our adrenaline systems a mildly stimulating workout and not draining us silly.

Wherever we are in the midst of our holiday preparations (which can last a great long time, and extend into the New Year) we’re wise to remember a wonderful truth.

Joy is very real within this period of time, and in us, and among us all.

We may as well stop right now and think about it. Joy is the underlining theme of the season. It’s there in the happiness, the delight, the anticipation and the gathering of family and friends, some not seen since last holiday time or before.

In all the experiences that come with living the fact of joy as a constant in our human makeup is very important to how we view this season and all the weeks of the year.

Joy is happiness that knows how to stick around through thick and thin. It isn’t lost or misplaced, as it can seem to be, when something isn't going well.

It can be unimaginable to believe in joy in the deepest trials and grief which, like a specter, streaks through our earthly existence. Nevertheless, we do well to acknowledge joy as part of the strong thread of who we are, as it’s meant to be.

To recognize the place joy has in our life is to say we understand life has shades of meaning and works by methods we don’t always grasp at the moment.

When we depend on joy as there, even when our sense of it comes up paltry to bare, we affirm trust in its presence. It's a signal to the world that we're on secure ground. We know joy is to be found when we look around.

Joy is steadier and deeper than the happiness we feel (or don't feel) as we go through any given day. 

When we expect there'll be something to be happy about it usually shows up. In time this becomes a way of approaching life in general. This translates to joy as we recognize the treasure in each fleeting moment.

There was advice I once read that I’ve come to appreciate, coming to the wisdom in it. The suggestion was to cross an item off your list that isn't bringing you joy, and add (in a second column) an item that has the intention of fun about it. 

The item you identify as fun will probably also introduce more joy into your routine.  

The more we can identify what is fun for us, and worth building time for, the more we get to the things with meaning for us. This frees joy to find us easier, and that can change everything over the long haul.

When days are cool, as they get to be in late December, the warmth is in thoughts of special ones. Holiday cheer wraps a bright bow around everyone, and this too is joy.

The twinkle of holiday lights largely brightens this dark time of the year. Not so dark - where there is cheer!  Enjoy these days, so dark in nature's detail, but shining, beautiful and hopeful in the context of the holiday season.

Ro Giencke – December 24, 2014


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