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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