“Happy Holidays”, or should I say Holly Daze? Stressed? Exhausted? “I’ve got to do this, buy that, go there!” For many, by the time December 25 arrives, they are glad to get it over with. Where is the happy in the holidays? Although we may hate to admit it, all this fuss becomes more about the presents, not Jesus’ presence.
I cringe every time someone says to me “Happy Holidays”. Happy? Wouldn’t words like grouchy, grumpy, and grueling fit the holly daze more appropriately? At the same time, the word JOY is splashed on cards, wrapping paper, candy, ornaments, decorations, and yes, I even saw a rubber kitchen spatula with the word JOY. My newest find was a JOY brand of coffee! (Of course, I bought it. What a conversation piece!)
Happy. JOY. We typically use the two words together like coffee and cream, yet they come from two different sources. We exchange a gift for something that makes us happier. Delicious cookies and an abundance of food certainly make us happy until we step on the scales. Ouch! Happiness is temporary.
Real JOY is rooted in Jesus Christ and is permanent! He never changes. “…my JOY may be in you [so] that your JOY may be complete” (John 15:11 NIV). That real JOY sustains us inspite of circumstances: broken heartedness, health issues, job losses, and any holiday family conflict. Irrefutably, the real JOY in His presence is there even when we receive gifts that don’t give us that happy feeling. The JOY of the Lord is what strengthens us to endure our journey through life.
We Christians have so many exciting opportunities, especially during the holidays, to be joy-bursts and scatter the JOY that the angels announced, “I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10 NIV).
I encourage you to make a plan and commit to making December the focus of the JOY – the JOY this Christ child brings for our everlasting life. EnJOY the happiness and fun of traditions and friends and family gatherings, but when the last piece of wrapping paper is picked up and your hugs and waves of good-bye are finished, cherish the fact you still are a vessel filled with the JOY of Jesus’ presence!
My challenge to you this year is to greet people with “Have a JOY-filled Holy Day”? Oops, did you read that right? Will people hear you correctly? “Have a “JOY-filled Holy Day”. Just thinking about doing this and watching their reactions puts a smile on my face and makes me giggle within. The following is a list of other things you might like to do to scatter the JOY of the Lord!
Bible Out and OPEN: Keep your Bible out on the kitchen counter, kitchen table or a place you frequently walk by during the day. Keep it open it to Luke 2. Highlight Luke 2:10 “I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all people.” As you walk by inhale a few verses then slowly exhale JOY. Let the JOY of Jesus be your motivation for the day.
Wreath of JOY: Print out scripture texts about JOY. Cut the texts apart. Roll each verse up and tie with ribbon. Next tie the texts onto a wreath, or tuck in among the pine. Hang the wreath on the door. As guests leave your home ask them to take “some JOY” from the wreath. Suggest they put it on a mirror or by the kitchen sink where they can read it often. Print out the JOY texts at www.annettadellinger.com.
Centerpiece of JOY: Arrange fresh fruit on a tray and add a bow for decoration. Scatter around the tray small pieces of paper with the word JOY. Serve your family and guests some fresh fruit and encourage them to take some pieces of JOY (a fruit of the Spirit) to put in their Christmas cards or leave with a tip. Together you can scatter JOY seeds! Provide a plastic snack bag for them to carry their JOY pieces. Print out JOY Seeds at www.annettadellinger.com.
Jar of JOY: Cut apart individual pieces of paper with the word JOY printed on them. Roll up separately and tie a pretty bow on to hold is shut. Put these in a clear quart jar; add a few small candy canes among the JOY rolls. Write a personal note about what the JOY of a relationship with Jesus Christ means to you. Deliver to a shut-in, a caregiver, Sunday school teacher. Don’t forget to tell them to remove only one a day! Challenge them to “Go, Scatter JOY!” Find the JOY pieces at www.annettadellinger.com.
JOY Word Challenge: Challenge your family and friends to make a list of some fun new JOY words…JOY-licious, JOY-light, JOY-spiration, JOY-tagious, etc. Give the person who has the longest list a JOY ornament to hang from their bedroom light, car rearview mirror, on the wall, etc. Reflect on the presence of Jesus as you look at the decoration! Put the list on my JOY web site for everyone to eJOY! www.annettadellinger.com.
Christmas cards: Above your signature write: “Isn’t it exciting to know the JOY of Christ is a JOY that is permanent!”
OVERFLOWING JOY: Saturate your heart, mind and soul daily in the JOY Manual, your Bible. Walk in JOY, be JOY-tagious, as you overflow with a positive attitude because of the JOY of Jesus within you.
Annetta Dellinger, Author, Speaker, and a Joyologist known as The JOY Lady has published 31 books and has spoken for 35 years. JOY-filled and contagious, her passion is encouraging, educating and equipping women to find hope, in spite of circumstances, from the real Source of JOY, Jesus Christ. www.annettadellinger.com, [email protected]