Taking Joy

The seasonal injunction to rejoice is always a tall order, even if you’re one of those lucky enough to be comfortable. It seems there are always more reasons, if you read the newspaper, to despair than to rejoice. In fact, given the shape the world is in, despair can seem the only reasonable—the only decent—attitude. And yet surely the job is somehow, against the odds, against all of what might seem just common sense, to rise to the occasion anyway.

This 500 year-old greeting, from a monk to his friend, is always the best Christmas card of all, for the theistically inclined and disinclined alike:

I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present moment. Take Peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take Joy!
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever,
the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

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