I love Christmas! There is so much about this time of year that makes me smile. From the music, the lights, the food and family traditions, all of it makes me giddy like a kid.
This week I was there. I felt myself getting short and irritable with my kids as we tried to get the last few items on our shopping list and frankly, things just weren’t going as easily as I had planned. My kids were having such a wonderful time enjoying all the beautiful decorations, and there I was, cutting off their enjoyment, as I drug them through each store. By the time we headed home, we were all miserable.
Some of us dread Christmas because it’s the time when their bank account goes into the red. For others, the dread of having to put up with that “certain” family member during Christmas, just makes them cringe. Then there is all the traffic and the stress of shopping to find the right gift that everyone will love, and all the cooking and cleaning. And in the middle of the “most wonderful time of the year” you find yourself depressed, discouraged, stressed out and irritable.
The joy that you hear about and see on every Christmas decoration seems more like a illusive dream rather than a possibility.
Have you been there? Are you there right now?
Would you let me share some tips that have helped me during those times?
- Remind yourself what Christmas is really all about. I love Kari Jobe’s song Adore Him. This song, along with many others, help me to remember that we are celebrating not only the birth of Christ but also the fulfillment of all God’s promises! That’s Amazing!
- It also helps if you can just slow down and take a deep breath. By doing this simple step, you interrupt that stressful moment and can give your self a chance to gain a better perspective.
- Realize that joy is not the same thing as happy. Being happy does not make you joyful, Christ and his presence makes you joyful. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”
- Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Again, it is not something you muster up on your own, it is produced in you by God. If you don’t have joy, ask God for it.
- Lastly, realize that joy is a choice. You are the one who chooses what you carry. If you are irritable and stressed, remember you picked that up. Nobody forced you to get irritated at the check-out lady at Target, you chose to do that. Regardless, if you picked up something other than joy, put it back down.
We have about two weeks left until Christmas. Don’t let those negative emotions rob you of the joy of Christmas. Remember, you have a choice. You can choose to be joyful. You have the ability to let joy loose in your life. Furthermore, you have been given the authority thru Christ to do so!
I wanted to close with these familiar words, but not just as a song, but as a declaration:
Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and heaven and nature sing…
May you my friend, be fill to the fullness of joy, today!
Until next time…