“Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The JOY of God is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
Focusing on JOY during December seems easier with the lights, celebrations, anticipation and fun of the holidays. It is easy to focus our energy this month on creating joy for our children, which (on our good days) brings us joy as well. I love experiencing this season again and again through my kids. It is truly joyful.
However, there is another joy to be found as well. Nehemiah states that the joy of the Lord is our strength. I love the concept that the joy of this season comes from God. It is not circumstantial. It is not dependent on the mood of children, gifts given or received. The joy of this season comes from the person of Christ. And that joy found in a relationship with Christ will bring us strength – strength beyond our own ability and rooted in God’s almighty strength.
As we rush through this holiday season, celebrating with friends and family, let us not forget to daily recognize the attributes of the Lord: His generosity, mercy, kindness, patience, strength, love and justice. I hope that we remember that the joy the Lord provides will bring fullness to each moment this December. We experience this joy by spending daily time praying, reading Scripture, and sharing God’s love with others. I encourage each of you to read Psalm 16 each day, along with the Christmas story found in the gospels and let the joy found in God’s character, as well as the joy He takes in you, wash over you.
Blessings on you and your family this JOYFUL Christmas season!
Grace Brown, Faith and Family Coordinator