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Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard. Philippians 3:1 NRSV

 Retreat to your quiet place and prepare your heart and mind to allow Scripture to speak to you as you continue on your journey to joy today.

Start with Scripture. Today, read Philippians 3:1 from your favorite translation of the Bible or from the epigraph printed at the top of the chapter, page 107. What do you have to rejoice about today? Why do you think that Paul says that rejoicing is a safeguard for us? Is that why you are on this journey—you need joy?

Read Chapter 15 of Reclaiming Joy. What parts of Ella’s story, if any, do you identify with?

Ella often refers to “living in the lavender world of half-mourning,” based on her great-great-grandmother’s portrait, described on page 107. What does that metaphor of grief mean to you? Is that where you are now?

Ella describes her constant stress on pages 108, 109. What are your current stress levels? What triggers your stress? Can you unwind? How?

After her husband’s death in April, Ella dreaded her first Christmas without him. She describes in detail the steps she took to make the Holidays bearable on pages 109–111. Do you have any annual events or dates on your calendar that cause great anxiety? How do you cope? When is the empty chair most visibly empty? Do you need to create moments of joy at those times?

Ella expresses regret that she did not make more effort to preserve family traditions and rituals. What are your family traditions? Have they been impacted by loss?

On page 112 Ella writes that finding joy at Christmastime requires careful advance planning, intentionality, and enlisting family and close friends for support; and she lists the questions she asks herself each fall as she plans her Decembers. Chances are you are more spontaneous than Ella. Is that beneficial for you or would more advance planning help?

What is the lesson that you have learned today?

What three things are you thankful for today? What moments of joy have you experienced in the last 24 hours? Take time to say, Thank you, God, for…

For an introduction to these 28 meditations leading to Easter, please read The Journey to Easter Joy: Daily Meditations, Letting Scripture Speak.

© Ella Wall Prichard, 2019