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Advent Devotional 12-17-21

Good morning!  Today’s devotional is our final devotional during this season of Advent, and it comes to us from Dr. Ashley Tull.  While Ashley was already known to many of us at TCU, he officially joined our University this past summer as the Professor of Professional Practice and Program Coordinator for the Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership in the College of Education.  To know Ashley is to love Ashley, as you would be hard-pressed to find a kinder, gentler, and more compassionate soul.  The genuine smile he offers others is matched only by his warm and generous heart.  He radiates JOY in all he does and I have no doubt his words for you today will challenge you to find JOY in your own life during this season of Advent.  Have a blessed and wonderful holiday season!



Isaiah 55:12

 “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”


When I reflect on joy in my own life, a few thoughts come to mind.

First, it is not always easy to be joyful, particularly when things are not going your way. At times, being joyful takes a lot of work. This is true if we let personal and professional responsibilities get the best of us. Students and colleagues might regularly hear me say, “I’m an optimist by nature” in my office or the classroom. I associate this with being joyful too. I could say, “I’m joyful by nature” as a way of reminding myself and others that I choose this emotion or feeling, as it is a more comfortable and peaceful state to be in. I believe that we can choose joy, over other emotions and feelings.

Second, we should all seek out activities that bring us joy. I believe that this is helpful as a way of grounding us and helping us find a place of comfort and peace. For me that comes with reading books. I love to read each night (and other occasions when I can) as a way clearing my mind; escaping from the business of the day; and to explore new thoughts and ideas. This brings me short moments of joy, as I am generally in a comfortable and restful state when reading and am able to find joy as a result.

Lastly, and particularly during this holiday season, I think we should help others to find joy in their lives. This is true for those who may be struggling in some way with grief, loss, loneliness, hardships or despair. Through simple acts we can bring joy to others. It may be as small as striking up a conversation with someone, leaving a thank you note, or assisting others in some small way. I will continue to commit to finding joy for myself and others and I hope you will join me in this commitment.

Let us pray.

May we bring joy to the world in our thoughts, speech and actions.

May we bring joy to our families, students, colleagues and friends, near and far, during this holiday season including Christmas, Kwanza and Hanukkah.

May we bring joy to those who are grieving; suffering loss, loneliness, hardship, or despair; and those who need us in some way.  Amen.


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