Reflection on Advent 3: Joy

Joy is the serious business of Heaven. — C. S. Lewis

Song: Joy to the World by Pentatonix
Song: Joy by Jonny Diaz
Song: Joy by For King & Country
Song: Joy Joy Joy Down In My Heart by Little Richard

House of JoyRumi

If you knew yourself for even one moment,
if you could just glimpse
your most beautiful face,
maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply
in that house of clay.
Why not move into your house of joy
and shine into every crevice!
For you are the secret
Treasure-bearer, and always have been.
Didn’t you know?

3 Ways to Access Joy (excerpt)Margarita Tartakovsky, Psychology Today
  Being in a state of joy isn’t something you’re born with. It’s a learned skill …

  1. Revise your inner language: How we talk to ourselves can influence our mood and outlook on life. For instance, “shoulds” can easily sap our joy. If you’re constantly telling yourself all the different things you should be doing, you’re likely residing in a negative or unsatisfied space. … To stop “shoulding” all over yourself, first assess the situation. … replacing “should” with “could.” This seemingly small change is actually very powerful because “it’s all about choice.” It promotes self-kindness, flexibility and forgiveness. It promotes exploration rather than rigidity.
  2. Seek out laughter … make laughter part of your day, Altman suggests the following: Set an intention to have at least one laughter memory a day. He defines this as “any humorous event, thought or observation that stimulates positive mood states that are joyful, uplifting, heartwarming, energizing or euphoric.” Use a journal to jot down your laughter memories. Read it at the end of every week …
  3. Focusing your attention on your natural surroundings can instantly help you access joy.

Joy Vs Happiness (excerpt) Sandra Brown, Psychology Today
Happiness is … dependent on outside situations, people, or events to align with your expectations so that the end result is your happiness … But happiness is not joy because joy is not external, it can’t be bought and it is not conditional on someone else’s behavior. In fact, joy is not contingent on anything in order to exist … When stuff, people, and the problems they bring fall away there is a stillness. Only in that stillness can we ever find the joy that resides inside of us, dependent on nothing external in order to exist. During this holiday season, this is a great concept to contemplate

… Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are, and who you are not with. When you need nothing more than your truth and the love of a good God to bring peace, then you have settled into the abiding joy that is not rocked by relationships. It’s not rocked by anything.
Ordinary Joy (excerpt) — Alison Bonds Shapiro, Psychology Today

… How do we cultivate joy? Do we work very hard and compete at the greatest intensity that we can manage to win the grand prize? Will that bring us joy? We think that joy comes if we win the lottery or are chosen for a great honor. We think we have to wait to be famous to have joy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Great honors may bring us excitement, satisfaction and sometimes even happiness for a while. But joy comes from somewhere else. Joy arises in the ordinary moments of our lives. That’s where we experience joy and that is where we can cultivate it.

We can cultivate that joy by welcoming the small things. We can find the joy that lives and waits for us in our ordinary actions. When we slow down and allow our bodies to find some sense of ease and pay attention to each dish, we invite joy. We are not in the running for a grand prize and national recognition for our amazing capacity to wash forks. We are just washing this one fork.

When we do this we see, maybe for the first time in a long time, like a child might see, with wonder and delight …

Joy: Rooted in Gratitude and Other Perspectives

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. — Tecumseh

The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. — Christopher McCandless

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. — William Arthur Ward

I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting. — Joyce Meyer

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. — Leo Buscaglia

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. — Richard Bach

Joy: State of Mind & Heart

Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul. — Maria Montessori

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. — Eleonora Duse

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. — Buddha

Joy: Arising Amidst Challenge

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse. — Helen Keller

When you’re in the day-to-day grind, it just seems like it’s another step along the way. But I find joy in the actual process, the journey, the work. It’s not the end. It’s not the end event. — Cal Ripken, Jr.

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. — Brene Brown

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. — Henri Nouwen

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.— Rumi

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. — Joseph Campbell

I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it. — Kristin Armstrong

Joy: Sharing & Serving Others

Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment. — Tony Robbins

If you are a chef, no matter how good a chef you are, it’s not good cooking for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others – it’s the same with music. —

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy. — Mahatma Gandhi

My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed! — Anne Sullivan

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Joy (excerpt) — Carl Sandburg
Let a joy keep you.
Reach out your hands
And take it when it runs by …

Joy— Maurine Smith
Joy, joy, run over me
Like water over a shining stone;
And I beneath your sweet shall be
No longer hungry and alone.
The light at my heart’s gate is lit —
My love, my love is tending it!

Prayer for Joy
Stuart Kestenbaum
What was it we wanted
to say anyhow, like today
when there were all the letters
in my alphabet soup and suddenly
the ‘j’ rises to the surface.
The ‘j’, a letter that might be
great for Scrabble, but not really
used for much else, unless
we need to jump for joy,
and then all of a sudden
it’s there and ready to
help us soar and to open up
our hearts at the same time,
this simple line with a curved bottom,
an upside down cane that helps
us walk in a new way into this
forest of language, where all the letters
are beginning to speak,
finding each other in just
the right combination
to be understood.

THIS WEEK: MON, Dec 10 – SUN, Dec 16

At Jackson Community Church and Around Town

This week @ JCC: Tue – Deacons Mtg, Wed – Pastors Hours & Fitness with Laurie McAleer; Thurs – Yoga with Anjali Rose; Fri – Pastors Hours, Sun – Interfaith Gathering (old library) & Worship with Christmas Pageant and  Peace & Pizza Concert with Dennis O’Neil & Davey Armstrong. Around town: Tue – Book Group (library), Thurs – Christmas Concert by Jackson Grammar School (Whitney Community Center), Sat – Craft Fair (Whitney Community Center for Jackson Grammar School) & Christmas Bird Count (ends @ Tin Mountain Conservation Center). Plus Save these Dates: Wed, Dec 19 – Peace Program (old red library), Fri, Dec 21 – Longest Night Winter Solstice Celebration (Tin Mountain Field Station, Jackson)

Tamarack Construction proceeds with installation this week. MON, Dec 10

  • Community Event: WAY STATION TEAM MTG
    4pm • Members of Way Station leadership (day resource center for homeless population in Mt Washington Valley) meet with Vaughan Center leaders to review guidelines under which Vaughan will serve as the Way Station’s fiscal agent. Rev Gail and church members serve on this team.

TUE, Dec 11

    12:30pm • Members of Clergy of the Eastern Slope gather. Rev Gail belongs to and attends this gathering.
    4pm. • Deacons meet to prepare for Christmas worship, January services, and to review visitation and community care.
  • Community Event: ADULT BOOK GROUP
    4:30pm • Jackson Public Library
    Did You Ever Have a Family? adult book discussion

WED, Dec 12

    7-9am • Glen Ledge Corner Store & Gas Station. Come by for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk by calling/texting Rev Gail 978.273.0308 or emailing Rev Gail (
  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer
    9am • Parish House, Jackson Community Church.Fitness class. Free; open. to public
  • Community Event: WAY STATION TEAM MTG
    10am • Nativity Lutheran Church, North Conway.
    Meeting of leadership team to review projects leading up to opening of Way Station in early 2019. Rev Gail & church member serve on this team.

THURS, Dec 13

    8:30am • Gibson Center. Reports on the recommendations of subcommittees regarding actionable projects to nurture an age-friendly experience in the Mt Washington Valley. Guided Gibson Center through AARP as agent of World Health Organization. Rev Gail serves on this task force.
  • INTRODUCTORY YOGA with Anjali Rose 
    9am • Parish House, Jackson Community Church Introductory yoga.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.
  • Community Event: CHRISTMAS CONCERT
    5:30-7pm • Jackson Grammar School

FRI, Dec  14

    7-9am • JTown Deli. Come by for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk by calling/texting Rev Gail 978.273.0308 or emailing Rev Gail (

SAT, Dec 15

  • Community Event: CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR
    Morning • Whitney Community Center.
    Jackson Grammar School’s craft fair. Proceeds from specific tables (White Elephant table) will support the Merriman House’s Music & Memory program for Alzheimer’s patients and the Way Station day resource center serving homeless Mt Washington Valley families. Our Missions team will have a small table at this event.
  • Community Event: CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
    All day • Coordinated by Tin Mountain Conservation Center. Join us for the 30th annual North Conway Christmas Bird Count.  Observers  needed for traveling routes by foot, cross country skis, snowshoes, or by car.  You can also tally birds at your feeder. Meet back at the Nature Learning Center at 5pm to tally our counts and share stories from the day. Call 447-6991 to participate. 

SUN,  Dec 16: Advent 3 – Joy

    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
    9am • Church. Prep for pageant.
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    • Advent wreath-lighting by family.
    • Accompanist: Alan Labrie
    • Special Music: Gia
    11:30am • Jackson Community Church.
    Missions offers gift cards for supported programs.
  • PEACE & PIZZA CONCERT with Dennis O’Neil & Davey Armstrong
    4pm • Jackson Community Church. These local musicians will perform some of their favorite songs with the theme of peace woven into this rollicking musical mix! Donations welcome; open to the public. The Shannon Door welcomes hungry concert-goers to eat pizza afterward (dining out is at each participant’s own cost).


Community Events:

100th Anniversary of Armistice (Ending WWI)
Wednesday, Dec 19

5-6pm • Old Red Library   Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Armistice and the “War to End All Wars” as the First World War was known. Opportunity for people to bring in poems, songs, artwork, medals received, etc.   Includes:

  • Musical performance of “Christmas in the Trenches” by Dexter Harding.
  • Poetry selections offered by Tony Deluca
  • Other contributions to this topic through poetry, literature and art.

Friday, Dec 21

4:30pm – 6pm (or later)
Tin Mountain Field Station, Tin Mine Rd, Jackson

  • Guided snowshoe walks by Tin Mountain Conservation Center staff
  • Crafts and readings inside
  • Reflections on darkness & light
  • Bonfire outside
  • More activities!


Thurs, Dec 20

  • 7pm • Come to reflect on grief & loss in the midst of a holiday season.

Sunday, Dec 23

  • 9am • Advent Workshop
  • 9am • Choir Rehearsal with Ellen Schwindt
  • 10:30am • Worship with Advent Candle Lighting

Monday, Dec 24

  • 5pm • Candlelight Service
    Sing carols, read and reflect on scriptures that re-tell the Nativity Story, and candlelight service with special music!
  • 10pm • Candlelight Service
    Sing carols, read and reflect on scriptures that re-tell the Nativity Story, and candlelight service with special music!

Tuesday, Dec 25

  • 10:30am • Pajamas, Stories & Bells. Come to church in PJs to ring bells, sing songs, and hear a special Christmas story.

THIS WEEK: MON, Dec 3 – SUN, Dec 9

MON, Dec 3 – SUN, Dec 9

This week @ JCC: Wed – Fitness with Laurie McAleer; Thurs – Yoga with Anjali Rose; Sun – Interfaith Gathering (old library) & Worship & Community Christmas Caroling. Around town: Wed – Winter Bird Ecology (Tin Mtn Cons Ctr); Fri – Mountain Top Music Concert (Brown Church); Sat – Harp (public library) & Owl Prowl (Tin Mtn Conservation Ctr). Plus Save these Dates: Dec 16 – Christmas Pageant & Peace & Pizza Concert; Dec 19 – Peace Program (old red library)

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Reflections on Advent 1: Hope

Of History and Hope (excerpt) Miller Williams

We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
… But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
…. We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.
… Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become—
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free …

Hope: Optimism With a Plan— Ron Breazeale, Psychology Today

  1. First of all, hope is future oriented. …
  2. And secondly, hope is based on a system of belief that you can find a pathway to achieve your goal …
  3. And last of all, hope involves a plan.

Link: A Guide to Grounded Hope Option B

Reflections on Hope

Hope is patience with the lamp lit. — Tertullian

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe. — Dalai Lama

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings. — Elie Wiesel

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. — Dale Carnegie

A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don’t have things go their way. And you never give up hope, and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perserverance. You just keep getting up and getting up, and then you get that breakthrough. — Robert Kraft

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. — George Washington Carver

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. — Robert Kennedy

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. — Lewis Smedes

You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. — Marie Curie

On Personal Hopes

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. — Maya Angelou

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’. — Erma Bombeck

I have hope in people, in individuals. Because you don’t know what’s going to rise from the ruins. — Joan Baez

On Present Hope

We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds. — Aristotle Onassis

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. — Thich Nhat Hanh

On Future Hope

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future. — Robert H. Schuller

This Week @ JCC: MON, Nov 26 – SUN, Dec 2

MON, Nov 26 – SUN, Dec 2
This week @ JCC: Wed – Fitness & Pastor’s Hours & Women’s Holiday Luncheon (Linda’s house) & Decoration Inventory; Thurs – Yoga & Hanging of the Greens (decorate church for Christmas); Sun – Interfaith Gathering (old library) & Choir Practice & Worship. Around town: Tue – Knitting (new library); Thurs – Documentary ‘Saving Snow’ (Tin Mtn Conservation Ctr); Fri – Age-Friendly Community health committee mtg (Gibson Center); Sat – Mini Book Sale (old red library). Plus … Save These Dates: Dec 9 – Community Christmas Caroling and Peace & Pizza Concert; Dec 16 – Christmas Pageant; Dec 19 – Peace Program (old red library)

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This Week: Nov 12-18

at Jackson Community Church and Around Town
THIS WEEK @ JCC: Mon – Music Team; Tue – Deacons; Wed – Pastor’s Hours & Tune-Up Fitness & MIssions Mtg & Council Mtg; Thurs – Yoga & Front Entrance Renovation; Fri – Set Up for Brunch Church & Front Entrance Renovation; Sat – Pvt Wedding; Sun – Interfaith @ Old Library, Choir Rehearsal, Harvest Brunch & Worship plus Thankful in Mountains. COMMUNITY EVENTS: Wed – Oh My Aching Knees (Whitney Community Center)

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Reflections on giving plus meditations on Veterans Day

Excerpt from Second Inaugural Address
… public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation … Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully … With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. — Abraham Lincoln

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THIS WEEK: MON, Nov 5 – SUN, Nov 11

 Jackson Community Church and Around Town
MON, Nov 5 – SUN, Nov 11

THIS WEEK @ JCC: Mon – Scouts; Tue – Pastor’s Drop-In Hours (Glen Ledge Corner Store); Wed – Tune-Up Fitness; Thurs – Yoga; Sun – Interfaith @ Gazebo, Choir Rehearsal, Worship with Veterans Day & Armistice Observances. COMMUNITY EVENTS: Mon – Legacy Pavilion (Jackson Grammar School); Tue – General Elections (VOTE); Wed – Housing Forum (Whitney Community Center) & Distinctive Photography (Jackson Library); Fri – Eastern Slope Ski Sale (North Conway Community Center); Sat – XC Consignment Sale/Ski Swap (Jackson XC Center) & Eastern Slope Ski Sale (No Conway Community Center) & Holding Difficult Conversations (Conway Library & Old Jackson Library); Sun – Holding Difficult Conversations (Whitney Community Center)

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Meditations on loving God, neighbor & self: themes from Mark

How do you place God — holy healing Love — first? How do you care for yourself? How do you care for your neighbor? How do you love the home — creation — in which you and your neighbor abide? How do you love the un-loveable?

What are the edges of how and who you love? What are the limits of how you allow yourself to be loved in return?

Fire of love, crazy over what You have made. Oh, divine Madman. — Prayer of Catherine Siena

O you who’ve gone on pilgrimage – where are you, where, oh where?
Here, here is the Beloved! Oh come now, come, oh come!
Your friend, he is your neighbor, he is next to your wall –
You, erring in the desert – what air of love is this?
If you’d see the Beloved’s form without any form –
You are the house, the master, You are the Kaaba, you! . . .
Where is a bunch of roses, if you would be this garden?
Where, one soul’s pearly essence when you’re the Sea of God?
That’s true – and yet your troubles may turn to treasures rich –
How sad that you yourself veil the treasure that is yours!

— Rumi ‘I Am Wind, You are Fire’
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel

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