DECEMBER 18: All the feels
If you celebrate a Winter, gift-giving tradition (Hanukkah, Christmas, more, etc.), then you’ve likely had a pinch of disappointment mixed in with the festivities. You have put something on a wishlist or dropped hints that were unfulfilled when all wrapping paper was crumpled on the ground and all the presents were opened.
One of the promises Jesus’ arrival was supposed to keep might bring nothing but disappointment. Even if you’ve never cracked open a Bible, you know Jesus has something to do with “Comfort and Joy”. And you are right.
If you follow Jesus, you know it’s supposed to be about joy—joy you’re supposed to experience in every circumstance (even the dark ones).
It was promised to us!
…the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”*
This season is sometimes—maybe most of the time—a mix of happy and…not so much.
It’s the most financially stressful time of the year.
It’s the time when strained relationships are in stark relief.
It’s also the close of another imperfect year (loss, regret, failure)
Forgive us, but it’s hard to sing about “joy” sometimes. Maybe Christmas would be easier for some of us if we learned to be happy with less.
But what if we do the opposite this year? Let us consider that, maybe the reason we still experience deep dissatisfaction isn’t because our deepest needs can’t be met, but because we haven’t wanted enough.
Mark today as the day you take on your quest for joy.
The announcement of the birth of Jesus was “great joy for all people”. Even you.
When he was all grown up, Jesus prayed that people following His lead would have the “full measure of His joy” knowing full well, they were going right into the hardest challenges of their lives—mostly because they refused to be, basically, happy.
If asked, “Why don’t you live for fame or power or sex or money or stability?” they would probably say something like, “We just want MORE out of life—We want to be happier than any of that can make us. Don’t you?!”
PRAYER FOR TODAY
“JoyGiver, give me an odd restlessness with ordinary happiness. Grant me a hunger for something much, much, much more nutritious than circumstantial bliss. I fear if I wasn’t looking for it, I would find some happiness and stop searching before I find real joy.”
*Luke’s biography of Jesus, chapter 2, verse 10