Christmas Joy

    The Christmas Season is here, Christmas Day is near. This is supposed to be a joyful time of year but for many people it isn’t quite as joyful as it should be. Many have lost loved ones during the holiday season, some have lost their jobs, disasters happen which create extra expenses, etc. These occurrences don’t make for “happy times” in ANY season but especially during the Holidays.

     My mother died in November of 1976. Because her death was so close to the Holidays, for many years I didn’t want to decorate for Christmas. I found it difficult to go through the process of getting gifts under the tree, and cooking was way too much effort. After many years, some friends came into my life who changed that. They inspired me to do things I used to do for Christmas. They helped me decorate, encouraged me to cook and went shopping with me. 

     When I began focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, the reason God created us and the reason Jesus came to earth, I began to realize that we are just a speck in the “Big Picture”. James 4:14 says Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

     This verse tells me that it’s not THIS life that is most important, but the life we will have for eternity with Jesus Christ. And knowing my mother and other loved ones are in a wonderful place, knowing God is taking care of them and knowing I will see them again is comforting and gives me reason to celebrate again.

     During those years of struggling, my focus was not on Jesus. I wasn’t reading my Bible, I wasn’t going to church, I wasn’t “casting my anxieties on Him”.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

     Some of us seem to like “hanging on to” our anxieties, grief and problems. Maybe they are our “blankie” we want to keep wrapped up in.  Maybe we are afraid of what it will be like if we give them up. We say we want to get better and we want them to go away, but we don’t do what it takes to make it happen.

     When I found myself: on my knees, crying out to God for healing, began living my life for Him instead of for my own selfishness, regular prayer time and reading my instruction book for life (my Bible), I became more at peace, more joyful, and more inspired.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

     During this joyful time of year, I want to encourage you to pause in your own “busyness”, look around, and find someone who needs a dose of “Christmas Joy”. Offer to help them decorate, cook a meal, bake some cookies or just sit and visit over hot chocolate. It always seems my own joy rekindles when I work to bring joy into someone else’s life.

     We don’t get well on our own…that’s why there are over 59 “one anothers” in the New Testament.

    I still think Christmas was a LOT more fun as a kid…but I have found a lot more joy now that my focus is on Jesus.

May you all remember the TRUE JOY of Christmas and share Him with others!

-Joanie Lawrence-Cain