With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is just around the corner. The months, weeks and days are quickly slipping by and soon we will be into another new year. It is a busy time for most people. Out of the busyness comes stress and fatigue to the point that we forget the purpose of this season and lose our joy.
Recently on a ladies’ day out, my friend Michelle reminded us to keep our joy, but also to give it away. She used small gift-wrapped packages to illustrate her point of the gift inside and not allowing anyone (and I add anything) to steal your joy. It is a gift given to you. In like way, do not steal anyone else’s joy by attitudes that are negative or critical. In fact, give the gift of joy to them.
What is this joy?
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field,
Keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them,
And the glory of the Lord shone around them,
And they were filled with fear.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
Who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:8-11 (ESV)
The angels were announcing to the shepherds that Christ, meaning Messiah, had come in the form of a newborn baby. This was cause for great joy!
In looking at the New Testament Greek word for joy, you find several definitions. The word is ‘chara’ meaning a calm delight, gladness, it is used of persons who are one’s joy, to rejoice and exultation. Joy is used in scripture as associated with life, the redemptive work of God and an announcement of an occasion of exceeding joy.
Within the last three years, four precious babies have been born into our family. I can relate to the definition of ‘calm delight’. The first time I held each one of those newborn babies, I was filled with such delight that my heart overflowed with love and awe of new life. But it was a calm delight in not wanting to disturb the sleeping little ones. And yes, these little ones are truly my joy.
And so, as we look at the angel’s announcement of great joy, I believe what they are saying to the shepherds is that the redemptive word of God has come to earth bringing new life for all people. That is what Christmas is all about. The joy of new life in Christ Jesus as we commit our lives to Him. He is our joy and our life. He is our calm delight. He is the gift to be shared with others.
As you rush through December, here are some helpful tips for maintaining holiday joy:
- Begin each day with Jesus. He is the source of your joy.
- Make lists to avoid stress.
- Do not try to do everything for the holidays all in one day. Plan in a way that preparations don’t pile up.
- When exhaustion weighs your down, stop. Rest. Get a good night’s sleep.
- Give thanks to God for the ability to accomplish His purpose in all things.
- Purpose in your mind to enjoy family and friends through the holidays free from conflict and pray for your family and friends.
- Be joyful that others may see Christ in you.
- Be at peace. If it doesn’t get done, it probably didn’t need to be done.