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Advent Devotional 12/16/2019

Week 3: Joy

Good morning!  Our devotional writer for today is Annorah Moorman.  Annorah is somewhat new to the community, having joined our TCU family this semester as the Associate Vice Provost of Student Success.  I have had the wonderful privilege of getting to know Annorah this semester as a great colleague and a trusted friend.  She has intentionally taken the time to get to know many amazing faculty and staff across campus who are also doing great work to ensure student success.  If you have had the pleasure of meeting with Annorah you have experienced firsthand the JOY she brings with her into any room she enters.  A kind smile and warm heart are evidence of her great care for whoever she might be meeting, and her thoughtful questions are evidence of her deep desire to truly know and celebrate you and your work.  From my perspective she embodies what it means to be a joyful person, which is why I have invited her to write this devotional today.  I trust her words will fill you with JOY, as well!

As a reminder, our annual Carols by Candlelight service will be happening in Robert Carr Chapel tonight at 7:00pm, so feel free to come and share in the JOY of the Advent season!  Oh, and stay after the service for some hot chocolate and cookies.   We hope to see you there!

Matthew 2: 9-10

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Let us reflect.

As I reflect on this time of year, I am reminded of how stressful this time of year can be for many, as there can be great pressures and expectations about gifts, the perfect meal, how time together “should” be. Regardless of one’s religious tradition this time of year, whether celebrating Advent, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Kwanza or another religious holiday, all seem to share certain components of JOY for me: anticipation, sense of community, celebration, and an acknowledgement of God or other powers bigger than we are as individuals.

I think of the many special traditions that my family shared: from opening Advent calendars, decorating the tree, singing Christmas carols, wrapping presents, baking Christmas cookies, anticipation and excitement in counting down the days until the birth of Christ….what made these events so JOYFUL was SHARING these events WITH others. I have found happiness and joy to be byproducts of enjoying what we are doing in our own lives and for the lives of others and spending time with those we care about most, whether it be family of origin or family of choice.

Sometimes we may need to remind ourselves what is really important this time of year….being together, taking time to pause and step away from the day to day pressures and celebrate community, religion, spirituality, and tradition, whether it be old or new!

Let us pray.

Gracious and loving God, during this busy holiday season help us to set aside the pressures and expectations of what “should” be and be present to the things that really matter.  In doing so may we be reminded of the JOY we find in You.  Amen.


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