shape of joyEarlier this year, I took an online writing class taught by the incomparable Jennifer Trafton Peterson. (Originally designed for children, she took a chance and opened this class to adults. It was fantastic. If you have kids who are interested in writing, I highly recommend looking into her schedule.)

One of our assignments was to think about the shape of joy. You know, if joy took a physical form, what would it look like?

As we move into the holiday season – the whole bundle of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s is my absolute favorite time of the year – I’ve been thinking back to this assignment. What does joy look like this time of the year? Why do I find such excitement during the most wonderful – and most busy – time of the year?

Joy for the season comes through all my senses…

The smells of cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, pies and breads, crisp fall air, fireplaces, leaves burning.

The sounds of leaves crunching, wind blowing, fires crackling, bells ringing, carolers singing.

The tastes of sweet pumpkin pie with whipped cream, tart cranberry sauce, peppermint mochas, roasted sweet potatoes, buttered rolls.

The sights of orange pumpkins and red and yellow leaves giving way to colorful twinkling Christmas lights and evergreen Christmas trees giving way to a barren landscape and clean houses for the New Year.

The feel of flannel pajamas, warm drinks going down the throat, cold snow, scarves, winter boots, warm coats.

I am tempted to be so busy attending rehearsals, buying and wrapping and baking gifts, and trying to cram in one more event that sometimes I miss the beauty in the season. You know, all the things we say we love about this time of the year but are too busy to take the time to savor.

Although the leaves are almost gone, the grass is turning brown, and the air is cold and crisp, winter is a time of preparation, of resting and getting ready for spring. I don’t want to miss all the wonderful things of the season because I am trying to cram in one more item on my to-do list.

Let’s agree that, even though Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s naturally brings a lot of busyness, we will slow down for just a few minutes each day to take the season in with all our senses. We might just find something in which to delight.


What we’ve been doing: This week, we had a snow day and were able to really enjoy some of our favorite things – playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows, watching Christmas movies, and playing board games. It’s a snow day tradition!