Advent - A Season for Joy

We have entered into the season of Advent - of waiting, of preparing, of readying, and listening...It is a sacred season, and I find myself wanting to enter into it more fully than I have in the last couple of years...

While I was in London, I found the church that I had been baptized in - St. Mary's on Cadogan Gardens. I sat by myself at twilight and said a series of prayers for loved ones and special intentions. On my way out, I caught a glimpse of a little book of Advent and Christmas reflections titled "Walk With Me," and made the requisite donation for it, knowing it would be just what I needed to add to my morning meditations.

As I opened the little booklet, I read these words by Pope Benedict:

"This is the real commitment of Advent: To bring joy to others.
Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not the expensive presents
that demand time and money."

I thought to myself - how true! Joy is not only the gift of this season, but it is also who we are at our essence!

This week, the theme for my yoga classes is "smirti" - which is sometimes translated as "memory" - or remembrance. Our practice reminds us of what is truly important. We come to the mat to remember who we are...

My trip to London was about remembering my origins, re-visiting sites once again, and experiencing the simple joys of wonderful meals, and encounters with strangers. And of course, sharing this trip with my son as well.

Whether we celebrate Advent or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa - or nothing at all - it is good to take time to remember that we are here to experience and embody love and joy. One of my yoga teacher reminds me often to experience this in every cell of my body.

This "Blessing" comes from the first week of readings in "Walk With Me:"

Lord,
Bless us with the gift of joy!
May our demeanor
bring joy to others,
especially to all who feel
harassed and dejected.
May they hear an unspoken greeting:
"Rejoice! The Lord is with you!"
And may it lift the gloom
that so easily settles upon us.
Grant us, Lord,
an attentive mind and heart
ready to receive your Word.
Amen

I read a poem this morning, titled "Welcome Morning" by Anne Sexton. In this piece she begins by saying that "there is joy in all" - the hair we brush, the kettle that heats our coffee, the breakfast that we eat. She notes that "all this is God," and we must remember to give thanks. She ends her poem by saying:

"So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young."

Remember that you are joy - and to endless joy you shall someday return...

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