Article: Not so Happy Holidays
Not so Happy Holidays
How can I be happy? I have asked this question quite a bit - never out loud but in my mind and to God. I just couldn't figure out the answer, so much wrong was going on and I desperately wanted to just be happy. To be able to genuinely smile and be at peace. Despite praying and going to church, I couldn’t find my answer, so I went out and purchased a book on happiness. If you know me, that comes as no surprise as I love reading. I normally have a few takeaways after reading a book, but I walked away with absolutely nothing.
Over a long and I mean long period of time, the Lord revealed how I can choose to be happy. If you wait for your circumstances to change, it may be a choice you never make, or go years without making, robbing yourself of the life God promised you. The choice has to be made regardless of your circumstances and that is not an easy thing to do. So how do you make this choice when you are being tested on each and every side? The first thing to know is that happiness placed externally will always fail you. Even something as innocent as placing happiness in your children will fail you. It is not that they don’t make you happy - they absolutely do, but they cannot be the source of it.
Think of happiness as a cup, Jesus’ love must fill that cup, and anything added on top is overflow. Our friends, family, relationships, accomplishments, etc. are all gifts from God that bring us immense joy, but they cannot be the source of our joy. All these things are temporal and can be removed at any time. Now this being written by someone who lost quite a bit, things I never imagined I would lose. But it is when you have nothing that you realize Jesus is everything!
(Whew! I had a flashback and had to pause for a moment, but I’m back)
I can say with FULL confidence that the joy of the Lord is my strength and that He will give you the oil of joy for mourning!
We are in the holiday season and that can stir a lot of sad emotions. Some mourn the loss of family members, some mourn the dysfunction in their family that prevents them from celebrating the way they would like; and others are low in spirit from trying to manage financial stress that prevents them from meeting expectations for presents. The opportunities to be down are abundant. It is in these moments where we must take deliberate action to choose to rest in the peace of God. We can celebrate the greatest gift to the world - the birth of Jesus Christ! We can celebrate the life and legacy of our loved ones who are no longer here by recognizing them in a way that is meaningful to us.
Maybe it is getting dressed up how they liked, or participating in their favorite holiday activity, or cooking a meal they only wanted YOU to make. I chose to create a tablescape with my mother’s Christmas China in honor of my first Christmas without her. While some sadness may be inevitable, joy is still possible. If you really want this joy that the Lord gives, you can’t wait for it to fall in your lap, you must seek after it.
You can start by taking about 15 minutes each morning; put on a worship song, read a chapter in the bible, then pray. Do not leave until the spirit of God has filled the room you are in. I promise you, a peace that surpasses all understanding will fill your heart. God wants to be with you always, especially when you need him most. Psalm 34 reads, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He’s close, it is up to you to let him in; to fill your cup in a sustainable way. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full - John 15:11.
Wishing you a MERRY Christmas! JOY to the world, the Lord is Come!