Advent Joy Challenge-A Joyful Start to the New Year!


Happy New Year! What!?!?! No, it’s not 2020 yet, but Advent is the start of the church’s liturgical year. An opportunity to start over, taking a look at our habits, creating new ones to connect with Jesus. This Advent I want to focus on joy. Christmas is going to arrive in a few short weeks, and with all the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s hard to find joy. Why not intentionally look for it and roll into Christmas Day feeling more of God’s Joy?

This Sunday’s readings were all about rejoicing-feeling joy in the moment. Isaiah beckons us to “Climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob that he may instruct us in his way and we may walk in his paths.” The psalmist also invites us to “Go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!” Like going to Grandma & Grandpas’ house for holiday celebrations, when we turn to God, he rewards us with many good things including Joy!

“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain to the house of the God of Jacob that he may instruct us in his way as we may walk in his paths.” Is 2:3

My Moment of Joy

I experienced Joy this morning as I walked into my church for mass. Even through I spent an awesometastic weekend celebrating Thanksmas (Thanksgiving + Christmas) with my family of origin. We had so much fun, playing cards, sharing laughs, memories & food! But, (I know there’s always a but!) eating too many pieces of Mom’s famous Christmas candies, and the lack of sunshine really took it’s toll on me. Feeling blue as I was driving to mass, I asked God to help me. Lo and behold! I walked into our warmly-lit narthex and was overcome with LOVE! People smiling, greeting me and each other, I felt so much joy in that moment tears stung my eyes! That moment I entered God’s house. In my asking God’s to help me “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” (Rm 13:12b), he provided exactly what I needed.

During Advent, we’re called to turn to God, to surrender to him, trust in him to provide the next step. If we’re smart, we’ll look for the joy in every step-he does provide it. Like Fr. David said in his homily though, it’s tough to wait without knowing the outcome. It takes trust. And, much like eating well & moving more, it’s not a one-time deal, but something we need to make a way of life. God makes himself known in our day-to-day activities, in the people we encounter, the food we eat, the wonderful world he lets us move through. Thousands of opportunities throughout the day to find his joy in the moment.

Advent Joy Challenge

Are you rejoicing because Jesus is beckoning you to turn to him? Are you seeing the joy he offers you? Feeling his joy several times a day? Would you like to experience more joy in your life? Check out my article on Joy Journaling and join me and my followers in my Advent Joy Challenge on Facebook and/or Instagram @juliegrunklee.

Throw off those bah-humbugs and let’s flood this New Year with the JOY God wants us all to experience!

Are you looking for a speaker for your church or community group? Someone who:

  • takes a holistic approach to health?
  • explains the benefits of journaling, praying often, eating well and moving more in easy, down to earth terms?
  • gives you practical tips that actually work with your busy schedule?
  • doesn’t just give a talk, but also has activities you can do too?

Email me at so we can start the conversation!

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