Tuesday, November 30

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2021 Advent Devotional: In the Midst of Changing Ways – Many Gifts, One Spirit

Week 1: The Gift of Joy

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9 – “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you.”

Reflector: Barbara Middleton

In my reflections of Joy in my life, especially during this pandemic and these difficult times of isolation, I too, look to others for this inspiration. Those during biblical times were inspired by the joyful teachings of Paul and those of Jesus. During these times of devastating media information, I often saw and embraced the messages of nurses in hospitals who spent extra time with patients, and teachers who were embracing their students’ creativity; these acts of kindness brought joy to me as much as in sharing of the joy these people had brought to others. Unbeknownst to me, during these critical times, I found myself the guardian of a sweet rescue puppy who has brought me immeasurable joy in his devotion, playful antics and the joy that I have seen his natural sweetness give to others. I have been able to expand that joy as I read about and see others share their joy with the animals they adopted. In my readings I came across the idea that “joy is a choice.”

Perhaps it is up to us to look through the lens of Joy. I have found immeasurable joy in nature as I watch birds and squirrels in this time of life slowing down. The beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the brilliant colors of this Fall we are now in, and the previous blooming of Spring and Summer- nature speaks to us if we only stop, look and listen – embodying nature brings me joy as I realize I am part of nature.

Prayer: Loving Creator of us and all we see, help us to be filled with joy as we embrace the love that exists in our world, the kindnesses that are shown and the simplicity of just choosing Joy. Amen.