In a few short weeks (they seem to be getting shorter and shorter – which makes me sad since all I want these weeks to do is linger), Christmas songs will be filling the airwaves. In the malls, on the radio, at school recitals, through churches across the globe, songs about peace and hope will be sung. Peace, hope and joy. It seems we could all use a nice jolt of each right about now. Joy, the subject of one such beloved song [Joy to the World, by the 20th century the most published hymn in North America], is such an interesting word. It alludes to a concept more deeply rooted than happiness. In fact happiness is often used to describe joy – as does delight and bliss. It originates from the Latin word gaudēre: to rejoice. It’s hard to think about joy today – especially amidst all of the turmoil, sadness, confusion, and anger filling social
Last year I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet face-to-face a not so fun diagnosis of Shingles. But, with all that is going on with my friends and their much more life-altering diagnoses, I really didn’t care much about it. Still, for anyone going through Shingles or who knows someone that has it – YUCK. It’s painful – and can actually be friendly enough to hang around for a longer haul. Which mine decided to do. I have residual nerve damage from it. The bad news – I can’t exercise the same way I’ve done through the years. The good news – nerves can regenerate, AND we live in a day and age where there are LOTS of ways to exercise. For me – it’s swimming. And the blessing, that came with my unexpected change-up, has been multi-dimensional and filled with so much goodness.
Don’t panic. Even though the words, “Can we get together next week? The Friday before Thanksgiving?” might have been spoken today [What?! Friday before Thanksgiving?! Next week!! EEEK!], there’s still time. Breathe. Truth be told, in most other years, Thanksgiving would be next week. But this year, the holiday falls the last week of November. Which means December begins just about the time we finish leftovers from all the terrific cooking and eating and sleeping and eating. Breathe. Seriously, remind me to not beg tomorrow’s problems for today. It makes today go by too fast. Rather than give into any pressures to feel stressed over what can seem like a time crunch, maybe it’s time to practice one of the simplest, yet challenging, but most powerful strategies to get our thoughts to land: gratitude. Did you know that:
Being the calendar-challenged person that I am, or it could simply be the flaky-factor that seems pervasive in all I do (or forget to do) – I kind of forgot that the super wonderful folks at Focus on the Family are airing a conversation we had about finding contentment in a comparison/ultra-competitive world. I have to tell you – those folks at Focus are the real deal. They are in it for us. They’re in it to spread the message of God’s love. They’re in it, walking alongside, embracing the good, the bad & the ugly and pointing listeners to helpful hints on how to walk the road and thrive instead of simply survive. I’m so humbled that they asked me to join them in outing the ick that hits us daily via comparison. So – I haven’t listened (and I’m a tiny bit scared to listen, I sound