The garbage truck just left with the last bag of Christmas wrappings. And by the end of the week the tree will come down and the decorations will be wrapped and tucked into a safe place for another year.
But, before I close the door on Christmas 2013, I want to say Thank you. Thank you Father for a wonderful Christmas.
Now isn’t that just like me to want to scrape the bowl to enjoy the last drop of goodness before I put it in my sink of hot soapy water.
I sort of dreaded Christmas this year because Jason and his family weren’t going to be with us. We were together at Thanksgiving, but with him living so far away, I don’t know when it will happen again.
Because I understand the power of gratitude, I got a grip on my attitude, I changed my thinking and I started thanking God for the wonderful time we all had together at Thanksgiving.
Of course spending Christmas with Kimberly and her family was awesome and her gourmet meal of standing rib roast, potatoes, broccoli and pecan pie leaves me drooling every time I think of it.
And a trip to Legoland topped it all off for me!
But Ashlyn said it best.
The day after Christmas Ashlyn told her dad, “I wish Christmas was today.”
Jason, grinned one of his mischievous grins and wiped the curls out of her face, “But Christmas was just yesterday,” he bubbled. (I love the way his face lights up and he bubbles happiness when he talks and jokes with his kids.)
“I know, but I wish Christmas was everyday.”
I agree, Ashlyn.
Except for all the cooking and cleaning and
- …buying gifts
- … and wrapping gifts
- …and shopping
- … on second thought maybe it’s not such a great idea to have Christmas everyday.
But what I think Ashlyn was saying, maybe without realizing it is, was that she loves the joy that comes with Christmas.
The joy of expecting
- …being loved
- …to that I say a hearty Amen!
I want to live in the joy of Christmas-
a joy filled year all year long.
But is that really possible?
To that I reply with a resounding, YES.
If we are willing to take Christ with us into every nook and cranny of every single day, we can live in the joy of Christmas.
Yeah, I know
there are lots of joyless Christians
And I am sorry that I had to even bring that up. But I do because we use them as a point of reference to indict that joy isn’t the norm, even among Christians.
But I know one thing for certain…
joyless Christians are not God’s plan.
Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.…
Did you see it? The great joy part? For all the people part? The born for you part?
Joy is God’s Plan
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” 1 Peter 1:8
Did you see it? The believe in him and the “and” that follows believing? That’s God’s plan.
Let me open the lens a little wider for a clearer view of God’s Good Joy Plan.
A Living Hope
…7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.… 1 Peter 1:7-9
If Joy is God’s Good Plan, then why don’t we have more of it?
You must choose JOY
Because even though we know about Christ, we don’t believe Him enough to embrace Him
- to trust him
- to hope in Him
- to enjoy Him
- to base our lives on Him
Unwrap the Christ of Christmas and take Him into your everyday life.
- Believe the truth—the Bible. Your opinion is just your opinion. Change it to reflect God’s opinion. That is the ultimate, absolute TRUTH.
- Obey His Words.
- Embrace His peace.
- Rejoice in the belief that
- He has a Good plan for you.
- He loves you.
- He wants to fill you with JOY, even when you are surrounded with difficult situations.
We must choose JOY.
You choose joy when you…
- choose to be genuinely and deeply thankful. Seeing and seizing the opportunity to express the blessings you have, makes room in your heart for JOY.
- guard your thoughts. Filter your thoughts through the sieve of Philippians 4:8
- Is this thought
- Is this thought
- change your self talk. Speak faith filled things to yourself instead of negative, fear-filled words. (Start with declaring scriptures.)
- change the questions you ask yourself; from “Why do I act so stupid?” to “What are two ways I can respond better in a similar situation?” The first questions is a “joy drain”. The second question sends “Hope” to find a solution.
- Focus on Christ Jesus, not the problem, not the circumstances, but the answer.
This Florida girl has never been able to croon with Bing Crosby’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”. I can boldly belt my parody, “I’m believing for a joy filled New Year!” (Was that too far of a stretch for this non singing parody babbler?)
I’m believing for a joy filled Year because I’m taking the Christ of Christmas with me into every part of my life.
Happy New Year! I pray that it is filled with Joy…that it is filled with all the fullness of Christ Jesus.