For many years, my parents have started each year by naming it after a theme: one was called, “The Year Of The Little Bird.” Another was themed, “The Year Of Pilgrimage.” The theme served as a kind of glue to cohere the seeming chaos of life. It gave them a focus, something for which to keep their eyes open. They read books and poetry on the topic. They may buy tokens to remind each other of the topic. Friends, knowing what they named the year, would send them quotes and just about anything that related to the year’s theme. I’ve admired this choice of giving each year a focus and I’ve wanted to emulate it for some time, so I’ve decided to name 2015, “The Year Of The White Stag.”
The most elusive of all mythical creatures is the white stag. It is a symbol of purity and hope across cultural barriers. The Celtic people believed the white stag was a messenger from the otherworld and Arthurian legend suggests that the hunt for the white stag symbolized mankind’s greatest spiritual quest. So it seems appropriate to choose the white stag as a symbol for a year long quest for joy.
I am dedicating my efforts this year to studying and tracking that elusive and rare gift in life: Joy. By the end of 2015, I aim to understand joy and adopt some key life practices that foster joy.
What will that quest look like? You can expect a weekly diary entry that records my findings during the previous week. Do not always expect a linear argument or simple tips to finding joy. Like the white stag, Joy will not be easily grasped. The hunt will lead us through dale and over precarious mountains. It may elude us for the majority of the year, but it is my hope that by January 1st of 2015, we will at least be closer to our aim.
You are welcome to join me in this effort by subscribing to the weekly blog, if you haven’t done so already, but I covet your help as well. Any clues you have regarding Joy? Got a good quote on the topic? Send it my way. More importantly, I consider this quest of deep spiritual importance and any success we have will come by way of prayer. Please pray for me.
Augustine once wrote, “A Christian should be an Alleluia from head to foot.” I take that to mean that a Christian should be a living testimony to Joy Himself.
We were made to be a beacon in the night, a bright fire that will draw the watching world like moths to the flame.
What does that mean?
What does that look like?
How can we be an Alleluia from head to foot even in our sorrow and brokenness?
If Augustine is correct, then it could be argued that the hunt for joy is the Christian’s ultimate spiritual quest.
Let the hunt of a lifetime begin!