Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 18, 2006
Christmas means giving, receiving joy
Fight society's doom and gloom and sprinkle joy wherever you can
By SHARON ESPESETH
I want it to be a spiritual and emotional Advent rather than an acquisitive, materialistic frenzy.
Spending Christmas at our daughter and son-in-law's home was a gift. The presence of all our children and grandchildren was a gift. Our nine-month old granddaughter, Abagail, decided to walk on Christmas Day. As her mom said, "It's a Christmas Day miracle!" Our gift was watching Abbie's joy of accomplishment.
Recalling our church choir singing to the seniors at a lodge, I enjoyed sharing our music and the seniors' response. I enjoyed visiting with residents. The seniors' enjoyment was our reward. Notice the word "joy" in enjoyment. Christmas is a time to rejoice, using another joyful word.
During the holiday season, we are often more generous with our time and money. We give and receive joy when we drop off a turkey for the food bank, mail a check for disaster relief, sing in a choir, or drop money into the Salvation Army kettle.
Our acts of generosity and kindness, however, need to be more consciously continued throughout the year. In this way, the blessings or joys of giving and receiving are not limited to the month or week before Christmas. We can be ambassadors of joy all year long.
In a world where complaining has been elevated to an art form, we need to practise, give and receive joy. As Pope Benedict says, sharing joy could be the "best antidote to the ills of society." With these thoughts last January, I promised not to wait until next Christmas to practise the philosophy of Joy to the World.
As another Christmas comes around, I admit I haven't always practised joy this year. It wasn't always at the front of my mind. On the other hand, I have definitely encountered and appreciated joy in my life. I've tried to savour the present, rather than always rushing to the next event. I am trying to treat myself and others better.
As I prepare for Christmas this year, I want it to be a spiritual and emotional Advent rather than an acquisitive, materialistic frenzy. This mental shift hopefully will reduce the stress of holiday duties.
With a more relaxed state of mind, I will be more joyful and peaceful. I will be more loving and receptive. Wrapping gifts for others, I want to wrap love, joy and peace in my heart. Then, I'll hit forward.
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