Finding JOY in Christmas: Advent Week 3 Reflection
I get full of joy about drinking warm beverages this time of year. Drinking a hot chai tea latte right now! And extra sleep. And extra days off of work to spend with my wife and daughter.
These are small joys in the grand scheme of life. Yes, family is important (and sleep); however, God calls us to a deeper joy in this time known as Advent.
Joy = a feeling of great happiness; a source or cause of great happiness; something or someone that gives joy to someone. (According to Webster's Dictionary).
Did you notice in the definition of "joy" that joy is a feeling? Joy happens to us, around us, and because of us (and others). And because joy is a feeling---we can encounter it as fast as it can leave us. Joy can leave us standing in awe one minute and then departs from us when a trial or battle overtakes us.
Joy can be found in Advent when we seek out extraordinary in the ordinary. Because extraordinary happened to ordinary people when Jesus was born. Shepherds (stinky and low on society's totem pole) were some of the first to hear about the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born to a young couple who were poor, born in a manger, and he was surrounded by mostly ordinary folks. His Kingdom is different. It is not just for the religious.
During Advent/Christmas, we all have different mindsets. Some people complain about those that rarely go to church (aka Christmas and Easter attenders) and how they take seats to "their church" at the holidays. Friends, this isn't your church. It is God's church. Besides, Jesus did not come into this world for folks to jostle for spiritual places of elitism. Jesus wants to bring healing to all--not just those that go to church. And he converts the ordinary person or ordinary moment into much more---a new creation.
Joy is possible during this Season if you truly search for it. Look beyond the Christmas lights, cookie platters, overflowing cups of eggnog, and countless days off work. Do you see it yet? Joy is more than seeing your family at Christmas. Joy is more than getting that gift that completes your wardrobe.
Joy is knowing....there is more to this life than alot of the things we yearn for. The joy we often seek on Earth is temporary. It fades. The joy in knowing God's plan for you...is everlasting. You will struggle. You will question. And you are human!! If you want to encounter JOY during Christmas and beyond.....ask yourself the following questions:
1. Where do I currently find joy? Is it authenthic or false joy?
2. What am I really desiring when I search out joy?
3. Ask a friend (whom is real with you) for their insight.
5. Continue to seek out your purpose in life. A life without purpose loses hope quite often.