I usually think of joy as happiness that goes deeper than a good feeling you have on a day where everything goes exceptionally well. Henri Nouwen backs this up. Happiness depends on what's going on around you. Joy is knowing that you are loved without condition or restriction. Nothing can take that love from us. God is the source of that love. If you're getting a divorce or newly diagnosed with illness, you can still celebrate joy. If you're alone or you've been sick for a long time, joy is still yours for the taking. If you're sad, joy can still be how you choose to live life. As the days get shorter and Advent comes closer to its ultimate celebration, remember to look for the joy in everything you do and see.
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Would someone please answer the following question for me: Why do Americans – actually, I think Westerners generally, but I will stick with Americans – believe art is something that must be approached so … well … seriously? With most art, most Americans seem to believe that, when looking at a painting or a piece of sculpture or seeing a play or listening to a piece of music, they are obligated, on pain of being branded as culture-phobic philistines, to wear a facial expression that announces to the world Pity me! I am dying of terminal hemorrhoids! Well, before anyone makes any cracks about that remark, I will back up a step or two and say that, yes, to be sure, some works of art are explicitly intended to evoke play, laughter, and light-hearted dalliance. A good example is
Pearl Buck circa 1972 courtesy of Dutch National Archives, The Hague under CC BY-SA 3.0 nl license I give you the books I’ve made,Body and soul, bled and flayed.Yet the essence they containIn one poem is made plain,In one poem is made clear:On this earth, through far or near,Without love there’s only fear. Essence by Pearl Buck Yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Buck’s birth. She was the founder ofWelcome House for the adoption of mixed-race children, thought in her day to be unadoptable. I consider her my spiritual mother. “. . . the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.” Pearl Buck (1892-1973). Pearl Buck was an American novelist, writer, poet, activist, and humanitarian and the first woman to be awarded the N