Responding With Joy

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On Christmas morning, we join in with our wider church family and my wife's Australian family in celebrating Aussie traditions — so we get the best of both worlds! This mixture of custom, tradition and faith - and the privilege of sharing this with my family — is one of the aspects of the season that brings me great joy. Jacarandas burst, lining the streets with Advent joy. Days linger into the evening as the seasons themselves sing joyful songs of life.

That was last Christmas, and every Christmas before it. This year, I am accompanied by empty trees and long nights as the carol books and decorations are dusted off again.

This year, I will sing, but will not play, the carols of Christmas joy. Our midnight contemplative service of the past three years, at which my clarinet accompanied the carol singing, was a special Christmas joy. This year, for the first Christmas in over a decade, I will hear the story told without telling it. Will I find joy in a return to listener, even as I feel the absence of collaboration in telling the story anew in a community of faith? For the first time in my life, I will not eat and drink Christmas with my family, my deepest Christmas joy. This Christmas, the language and imagery of light in the darkness take on new meaning as I celebrate Christmas in the darker, colder north.

But though I am told not to get my hopes up, this relocation may bring a new joy I could not experience at home — a whiteChristmas! There is joy even in the possibility of snow! But when I think about it more, I would also describe joy as a sense of urgency toward God — seeking, learning, praising God. Joy is also that sense of warmth in heart and soul that I experience when all feels right in my world.

I experience joy during the Christmas season in the retelling of the Christmas story and entering in to the feelings of Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds and Magi at the advent of the Christ child — the wonder, the fear, the excitement!

Preventing and Responding to Emergencies

I get that warmth in my heart when my seven-year old is asked by someone what Christmas is all about, and he answers that it is the birth of baby Jesus. I feel great joy and excitement when I think about seeing my extended family and celebrating Christmas with them — sharing life, reflecting on the year that has been, and looking ahead to the new year. All is right in my world when I am listening, sharing and celebrating life — what joy!

Surprised by Joy is the title the late C. Lewis gave to the book about his life and journey into faith.

UNICEF Dominican Republic - Preventing and Responding to Emergencies - Return to Joy

His faith was in the love of God shown in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To define joy as a surprise is, to me, very apt.

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It is a surprise that God chose such a simple way to show love — coming as a child, born at the fringe of a small community and so vulnerable that he had to be whisked away to safety in another country. Joy is also an experience or emotion that can only be defined by each of us as we come upon it. I remember the joy of seeing my children at their birth, and in sharing their growing. I reflect on the continuing joy of my marriage to Nessie, and our shared joy in ministry to communities throughout Australia and beyond in the name of our Lord.

In this place we have met many people from different countries and cultures. It has been our habit to host a Christmas dinner for young people in our community who have no local family outside of the church. It is a joy to see strangers become friends in the fellowship of Christ! This year we are to miss out on that particular Christmas joy and exchange it for another — we are heading to Melbourne to share Christmas with our family there!

Gathered Worship in the House of God

It will be the first time in many years that we will be able to share a Christmas dinner with our daughter and her family. What a joy! In that role, I have travelled widely in South Australia. Joy is not just a solitary experience — it is a gift that surprises us as we join together in the household of God.

I must make a choice to receive and feel the love and pleasure I find in the present moment, and thereby experience the fullness of joy through God's Spirit. Being welcomed into the Synod and Presbytery of the Uniting Church SA, the congregation of Rosefield, and the neighbourhood of Highgate has been a joyful experience. At present, I find joy in seeing others included at lunch and dinner tables, particularly people who would otherwise have little or nothing to celebrate and no one to celebrate with.

Joy is closely related to gratitude, and this is a good thing to exercise over the Christmas season. During this season, God challenges me to see those who do not have what I have, and to participate in acts of kindness, justice, and peace-building for people abroad and closer to home. We are currently contemplating the season of Advent, a time of waiting. That feeling of anticipation is on the rise. There is something very special about celebrating Christmas — the remembrances, gatherings and good food.

The purpose of our Buddhist practice might be described as enabling one person to become truly happy, and giving that person the ability to enable another person to become truly happy.

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Through each of us naturally sharing the great sense of joy and fulfillment we gain through our practice, we can ultimately elevate the state of all humanity. In other words, the benefit of joyfully enabling another person to hear the Lotus Sutra, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is so far-reaching it remains forever undiluted.

The Benefits of Responding With Joy

Its benefit is fully enjoyed by anyone who hears it and responds with joy even after being passed on 50 times. Those who respond this way and then embrace faith and share it with others according to their ability will have all their prayers answered, gain tremendous good fortune, and attain the state in which all desires are fulfilled without fail.

The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra , vol.

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The Law spreading to the fiftieth person symbolizes the dynamic transmission of joy from one person to another, and ultimately to all people, by those who spread the Mystic Law. The Lotus Sutra explains four types of benefits enjoyed by those who hear about and share the Mystic Law. They will: 1 gain material happiness; 2 acquire the merit to become a leader in society; 3 acquire abundant wisdom and enjoy excellent health in both body and mind; and 4 enjoy a state of life in which all desires are fulfilled see WLS-5, 48— Throughout his writings, Nichiren Daishonin expresses great joy despite the intense challenges and circumstances he faces.

Life is a succession of moments. As exemplified by Nichiren Daishonin, every moment we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with a sense of appreciation and joy, and take action to share that joy with others, we are securing a life of deep and indestructible happiness. Identifying and Winning Over Devilish Functions.