Monday, 17 December 2012


After my last post, I truly did intend to start posting daily again to help promote peace within me.  The time of year as made it difficult to get back into the habit of daily posting.  My time has been stretched to the limit with preparing students for their Christmas recital, baking, cleaning, shopping and preparing for Christmas.  Amongst all the busyness though, I was able to feel some peace within as I've lit my advent candles every day and contemplated HOPE and PEACE.  It is difficult to feel peace all the time when conflict surrounds us.  With the shooting of the children and teacher in Conneticut, it was difficult to find PEACE this past weekend.

Yesterday was the start of the third week of Advent and so I lit the candle which symbolizes JOY.  To tell you the truth, it is difficult to find JOY amongst shootings and dealing with parenting teenagers.  I think I have to remember that JOY does not mean happiness.  JOY is found buried deep within us and can sit there quietly during the chaos, waiting for that moment of warmth that each of us has at some point.  Sometimes I have to really search hard for the kernel of JOY that is still within my soul.  JOY becomes apparent to me when I'm baking and I find myself reminiscing about my grandma who I miss dearly.  JOY is there when I look at my manger scene with the tiny baby surrounded by animals in a smelly stable and I realize that the baby signifies JOY in the freedom from oppression.

I feel the JOY of the Advent season and Christmas festivities when I hear Christmas carols and the songs of the season.  I resonate with that JOY of Christmas when I play the music on the piano.  My JOY is a little dulled when I dwell on not being able to sing the songs or play my flute.  However, when I play the piano it truly is a full outpouring of HOPE, PEACE and JOY of the Advent season.

I must be honest though.  At other times, as the negativity of the world around me becomes stifling, I do think "Oh Joy" and that is not in an uplifting tone.  It is precisely at these times that I need to take time to reflect and contemplate on the true JOY of Christmas.  Although 2012 has been a difficult year and looks like it is going to continue to be difficult, I must remember to cling to the JOY of having supportive friends, caring family from afar and the continued remission of my lymphoma.  To continue to focus on JOY this week, I may need the extra reserves and self-discipline to physically, emotionally and mentally remove myself from the negativity so I may find the strong warmth of JOY that I know resides within my soul.

The trappings and trimmings of Christmas are fleeting but for me, the true JOY of this season is found at the birth of Jesus in the crowded stable.  A stable, where a manger or trough with hay for the animals is used to give a soft place for the new baby that was born.  The warmth of the animals, and the warmth of a mother's arms keeps this baby wrapped and comfortable.  I can just imagine the smell of the straw bedding and the hay in the stable.  The smells of the animals as they rest in the stable.  The sounds of the animals chewing the hay.  The cries of a newborn baby as it lays surrounded by a mother and father who are relegated to spending the night in a stable.  This descriptive scene is what brings HOPE, PEACE and JOY to my heart even while life's storms continues to batter away at me.  I may think "Oh Joy" in that sneering tone and then when I look at my manger scene that thought becomes a firm and happier "OH JOY!!!!  Christmas is coming!!

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