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Advent and the Adventure of Joy

There is a beginner workout in CrossFit that is only 20 minutes long.  You do 5 pull-ups , 10 pushups, and 15 air squats. Then you repeat until 20 minutes is up.  It has a name: Cindy.

I met Cindy on the internet looking for a way to talk about getting in shape for a sermon series twelve years ago. We hung out one night in November while Amy was across the room watching a movie. After 10 minutes, I thought I was going to die. It was awesome.

It is way easier to be disciplined about suffering than it is to be about joy. How do we have joy in an Advent like this? I suspect that many people are feeling this year way more like Cindy than a season of joy.

Here is a simple workout for joy.  

5 rounds of adoration. Take some time to just adore God, gaze into a manger, take a ride on a donkey or just walk around your neighborhood and admire the work of the Holy Spirit going on all around you.

10 rounds of humility. Spend some time either reading biographies of great luminaries of the faith or just learning about the lives of the saints. Learn about the church around the world in places of oppression and deprivation. In a time when we are feeling our own pressure it can be life-giving to remember how good we actually have life at Christ’s Church here in Paradise Valley.

15 rounds of thanksgiving. Here, I will start.  Thank you! Thank you for your faithful stewardship of this community, this faith. Please be sure to get your pledges in if you are late, but mostly I just want to say, “Thank you, Family of Christ.”

Repeat through Christmas.  In this way, we will be ready to receive Christ with joy.


The Very Rev. Daniel P. Richards

Rector, Christ Church of the Ascension

Paradise Valley, AZ