The third candle on the advent wreath is a different color than the other three. This week the candle is pink, to symbolize our joy. In the olden days the fast would now be over and everyone entered the holiday mood. Now a days some people are already tired of the holiday mood. I think we need reminded to have joy in these busy days leading up to Christmas. (I should have had this reminder about joy out days ago, but sick family members has added to the craziness around our house).
Joy. It’s something Christians are commanded to have all year long. Joy is found in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). Joy comes from knowing the Savior.
Joy is not just a feeling of happiness. It is something much deeper. True joy does not diminish with sorrow. True joy can coexist with sorrow. If you think I’m crazy saying that, you probably have never truly known the joy that comes from God. The joy that comes from God shadows every part of our life. Sometimes it is a quiet back drop in our lives, at other times it makes us giddy and leaves us dancing and singing to the Lord. More often than not it is the former. Joy should be the undercurrent of our life, of all we say and all we do.
As the time wraps down to Christmas do not get wrapped up in the business and lose your joy. Below are five suggestions for maintaining your joy.
1. Spend time with the Lord.
Psalm 16:11 stays, “In your presences there is fullness of joy.” Our joy gets filled up being in God’s presences. Making getting before His throne and into His Word a priority. After all, this season is to remember Christ’s birth, it is only fitting to spend it with Him. Beyond just spending time in the morning, look to Jesus throughout the day.
2. Guard expectations.
Expectations about Christmas, expectations about what you want to get done, expectations about how the house will look when friends and relatives come. When our expectations do not get met we tend to get depressed. Be careful about your expectations.
3. Don’t try to do everything
It is okay if somethings do not happen. The gifts do not have to be perfectly wrapped. The food does not have to all be there in abundance. You do not have to attend every party. Recognize that you cannot do everything and do not lose the most meaningful things such as time with the Lord and your family by being overly busy.
4. Have fun and make memories
During Christmas we can get so busy that we do not spend the time with those we love around us. If you are doing number 3, you will find it easier to do number 4. Stop and take time to have fun with your family and friends. Make memories with them. So what if everything is not perfect. Five years from now they will remember the fun and laughter you shared not the messes or cookies that were not made. (Or if you do get all the messes cleaned and cookies made they may remember how stressed you were getting everything done.) So take time to be with them, laugh, and have fun.
It is proven that smiling for 30 seconds to a minute straight (even a forced smile) will make you happier. If you are really struggling to maintain your joy. Smile for one minute. You’ll be happier after that.
I hope these are helpful to you and you have a joyous rest of the year! And always remember the true reason for the season, the coming of the Savior. That should give you joy.