Until Next Year

This weekend, I packed away the Christmas tree, decorations, and angel candlesticks. Then I took this year’s Christmas cards off the beam between the kitchen and living room, taking a few minutes to reread notes and see the handwriting of friends and family. Going through all the cards together I saw something that I’d missed during their gradual accumulation over Advent and Christmas: almost a third of them featured the word JOY. One of my favorites is a simple card with scalloped edges with JOY in red. Beautiful.

January is passing and the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions has faded for many if not most of us. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, really. Change that gladdens the heart and quickens the spirit isn’t tied to the changing year: it resides in our hearts and souls. Finding that change is more a matter of hope and patient listening for the voice of the Spirit than of drastic dietary or lifestyle adjustments.

I kept a few of this year’s JOY cards. Like favorites from holidays past, they will make good bookmarks, keeping my place as I journey through any number of books. Joy will accompany me through the rest of January and beyond. It’s a good reminder: change that leads to a holy life may require work, but it also brings Joy.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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