What word best describes your typical Christmas?
How about joy? Yeah, I’m serious!
For many of us, joy is just a theme of one of the Advent candles or a frequent word that appears in the Christmas carols we sing.
However, joy is a major theme in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth.
To the shepherds, the angel said,
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
The shepherds glorified and praised God when the saw the infant Jesus (Luke 2:19).
When the magi followed the star that led them to the house where they found the baby Jesus, they were overjoyed (Matthew 2:10).
A GOOD QUESTION
Why is it that the news of Jesus’ birth brought such joy to those who first heard it but to us who celebrate His birth each year, our experience is far from what could be called joy?
Have we lost the joy of Christmas? If so, how has it happened?
-has it been neglected in our frenzy of buying?
-has it been buried far beneath the busyness and exhaustion of the season?
-has our joy and our ability to experience joy been deadened by the duties and obligations that go with this time of year?
4 IDEAS FOR MAKING JOY POSSIBLE THIS CHRISTMAS
If you think your joy is absent or may be absent this Christmas, try doing the following:
1.Focus on your presence not on giving presents.
Your time is a greater gift than anything that could be put under a tree.
Joy seldom is experienced by those who are stressed, tired and grumpy. Choose carefully how you will invest your time this season.
Christmas is a delightful disruption of the way things normally go.” Dean Willimon
Jesus’ birth was a disruption in the lives of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men – a disruption that brought joy.
We need more flexibility in our time in order to make room for God’s interruptions.
3. Examine your expectations.
Perfectionism is a perversion of the Christian way and to impose it on oneself or on another is decidedly not the way of Jesus.” Eugene Peterson, The Jesus way
Brokenness shared in DivorceCare and GriefShare groups help bring healing to participants. Surviving the Holidays (for DivorceCare, for GriefShare) helps hurting people examine expectations they have of others and that others have of them for the Christmas they are about to face.
Plan ahead and talk about your expectations around Christmas. Trust God with the less than perfect events and people in your life.
4.Remember the one person who should be on your gift list.
When Jesus was born gifts were given to Him, not to everyone who came to celebrate His birth! What gift will you give this year:
-more time in prayer and worship?
-forgiveness of someone who has hurt you?
-a change in attitude?
Now your gift list is complete!
May your Christmas be joy-filled!
Next week is Christmas so I’ll be taking the week off from podcasting, but I’ll be back in January.
Deeper faith. Greater joy this Christmas.
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