I always remember hearing a quote about how hard it is to write songs in the good times/times of celebration, mainly because when you are enjoying the moment you simply don’t want to sit down and write but want to be fully present in the joy and celebration.
That’s kind of how I am feeling (particularly in the lead up to Christmas) with this journey. I am still asking questions, learning, exploring, practising and doing the stuff but its also good to take a bit of a different take and just celebrate and revel in the Joy of 2012.
2012 has been an epic year, I’ve grown lots, learnt lots, been challenged lots, and also experienced lots. Just as Sports personality of the year will be absolutely epic on Sunday (so looking forward to it) so to has my year of journeys been somewhat epic (without ever being in anyway comparable)
One of the biggest reasons for celebration is the journey I have been on to be/lead/live out of who I am, to regain a lot of my vision, hope, passion, love and zeal for life and to begin the journey of casting off fear and the fear of failure.
Books, Opportunities, Friendships, Colleagues, Incredible Articles, The Olympics and Paralympics, My unexpected and enforced stopping and deep reflecting, A new job, a renewal and healing of past mindsets have all contributed to this journey. Part of the ‘battle’ has been to believe that change and transformation is possible.
I’m still battling but feel that more of the battle is being won rather than lost. That as more conversations, opportunities, healing, hope and goodness pervade and become more of my lived reality, I am able to move into a place of celebration and deep thankfulness for all that this year has been.
This Advent I have been part of a group and we began with this profoundly helpful reflection
“Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you are lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love.” Adela Rogers St Johns
Joy is a light, however fragile its flicker! I love that. And I love this metaphor (from Brené Brown), too: that joy is like a set of Christmas tree lights – small but delightful moments of illumination, strung together powerfully with good things such as trust, perseverance, faith, hope …
In fact, we’ll use that metaphor as a thread for this series, as we trace our path towards Christmas. And I’m so pleased we’re on our way!
But to return to the light – to joy itself – for starters. Anne Robertson, a Methodist pastor, disentangles joy from happiness very helpfully. Happiness comes from the Greek makarios, she says, which is akin to the freedom from material worries enjoyed by the rich; but it comes and goes, along with our circumstances. Joy, however, is from chairo - which the ancients saw as “the culmination of being” and “the good mood of the soul”. Chairo finds its fulfilment in God, and – fascinatingly – its opposite is not sorrow, but fear.
“Do not fear.” It’s a refrain we hear throughout the Bible, and throughout the advent story, for good reason. And it’s one we’d do well to receive in our hearts, in Advent 2012.
The angel said to the shepherds in the fields, “Do not fear. I bring you news that will cause great joy.” (Luke 2.9) Our advent journey, then, takes us away from fear towards joy. And it starts right here, today, if we are willing to take our first step.
This year has been one of those giant leaps and this Advent has enabled me to take another step!