The Madonna of Humility, by Lippo di Dalmasio, about 1390, National Gallery, London
I love the part of the Christmas story where the shepherds were having an ordinary night out in the fields – same old, same old. Only it wasn’t! Unbeknownst to them, an event had occurred that was at one and the same time ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary, because a woman gave birth to a baby boy; extraordinary because the baby Jesus was sent by God. And the way those shepherds got to know of the event was being told of it, first by one angel, and then by a whole host of angels appearing and praising God for this great event. And the angel said ‘ I bring you really good news, and it is news of great joy’.
I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. In the summer I met Penny, who said that she had decided that she was going to do – as much as she could – things that brought her joy – things that made the most of her gifts and talents, when she was acting from wholeness and in harmony, the result of which brought her much joy. Her joy was so evident; she was such a smiley lady and she radiated joy. And that idea really struck me – what if I minimize those things that are joyless in my life and try and increase those things that bring me joy. I look forward to the next year when I choose that which brings me joy. And wherever you are in the world, I wish you much joy this Christmas and for the year ahead.