Monthly Archives: September 2022

A Glimpse at “The Fullness of Joy: A Story of Loss and Renewal” by Georgia Briggs

Georgia Briggs once again stirs the thoughts of her readers through a fictional account, The Fullness of Joy: A Story of Loss and Renewal, published by Ancient Faith Publishing. Although the novel is earmarked for young teens, its evocative writing invites older readers as well – especially those who love St. Seraphim of Sarov and/or have a heart for animals – to ponder the saint’s life from an unusual perspective. A fictional bear whose emptiness drives her through the woods finds her way to St. Seraphim’s home. Over time, she observes him, accompanies him, and even comes to trust him although she does not particularly like humans. 

The saint ever and always has bread in his pocket that he shares freely with the bear and all of the other creatures that come to his humble home. But it is not the bread alone that feeds the bear. St. Seraphim calls her what he calls everyone, “My Joy!” The bear accepts this proclamation as a christening, and, for her, being named is akin to being accepted and wanted. St. Seraphim makes room for her in his heart, his home, and even at his table. That warm welcome feeds Joy’s soul, even though she is just a bear.

Brigg’s pencil drawings season the story with beauty and intrigue. Their subtle coloration invites the reader deeper into the life of St. Seraphim, as seen through Joy’s eyes, beyond the written words on the pages. The characters’ demeanor in the illustrations make the reader want to be their friend, and invite the reader to feel that they, too, have been called “My Joy!”

This book is not a half-baked, light read. The subject matter is heavy, but the reader steps away with a taste of what it may have been like for St. Seraphim to pray on a rock for 1,000 days and to be beaten within inches of his life by men who sought only earthly treasure. Briggs sprinkles crumbs of St. Seraphim’s wisdom throughout the novel. These treasured crumbs, flavored by St. Seraphim’s love for God and His creatures, nourish the reader, even though they are passed along unexpectedly, through the simple mind of a bear. 

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

Purchase your own copy of The Fullness of Joy: A Story of Loss and Renewal by Georgia Briggs here: 

For additional readings on the life of St. Seraphim, along with family-friendly resources, check out an earlier Orthodox Christian Parenting blog post: Learning About a Saint: St. Seraphim of Sarov (Commemorated on January 2)

If you are a fan of the writings of Georgia Briggs, you may enjoy a review of her book, Icon on the Orthodox Christian Parenting blog.