It was on one of our first dates when my dreaded kidney disease introduced itself to my husband. A kidney stone, complete with a trip to the ER wasn’t a part of the Christmas joy I had anticipated with my new boyfriend.
After experiencing over 50 kidney stones in my life, I qualified as a professional kidney stone passer. The routine wasn’t a new one for me. However, I wasn’t quite ready for this new man in my life to witness a rather raw version of myself!
As I lay sobbing in pain and curled up in the fetal position, I made desperate (but unsuccessful) attempts at sporting my hospital gown in style.
I wondered if this would be my last date with this guy!
But instead of bowing out, he did what I now know he always does in these situations. He brought humor and laughter into the midst of my hurt.
It reminds me of how joy is possible when the world is upside down. That it’s possible when life is hard. And that it’s possible to have Christmas joy even when you feel downhearted.
There’s a miracle that happened many years ago that I wonder if, over time, has been lost on many of us. Maybe we’ve been desensitized.
For example, the first time we see a particular mountain view, we may gasp at its beauty. But if that same mountain view is what we wake up to every day, before long we become desensitized. We no longer gasp at its beauty. We simply move about our day.
So, I wonder if the miracle of Christmas has gone through the same process in our minds and in our hearts? Have we been desensitized to the incredible gift given to us by our Father? Have we forgotten the most important reason for our Christmas joy?
God Came Down to Earth That Night
When we think of how the lineage of Jesus was filled by generations of chaos, dysfunction, broken lives, and broken dreams, we should be amazed. In spite of it all, God did as He promised to make all things work together for the good. He aligned every life and every moment throughout time to come together in one incredible night.
He shattered every barrier to bring us hope on Christmas night. This was His gift to prove to us His unfailing love. And to show that His promises never come back empty.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. -Romans 8:28 NLT
Shame, a census, nor no room at an inn could stop God from coming down to live among His people. To love us, redeem us, and set us free from the darkness of our sin.Shame, a census, nor no room at an inn could stop God from coming down to live among His people. To love us, redeem us, and set us free from the darkness of our sin. Click To Tweet
When I soak in the depths of this miracle, I am humbled in gratitude — a gratitude that changes everything.
Because without gratitude, hope cannot live and joy cannot abound.Without gratitude, hope cannot live and joy cannot abound. Click To Tweet
Gratitude toward our Savior opens our hearts for the adoration of Him. It confirms the surrendering of ourselves in faith. Only when we have surrendered ourselves to Him, can we experience the fullness of His love, hope and joy.
We aren’t much different today than those who had no room for Mary and Joseph. They had no room left — so full they missed out on hosting the miraculous moment of the Savior’s birth.
Kind of like us in a way? We are so busy, our lives so maxed out, and our thoughts full of all the world is dishing out at us, we may be missing out on the Christmas joy available because of the birth of Jesus.
We are missing out on life-giving HOPE.
And on the joy that lives within us despite any and all life circumstances.
The joy no thief can never steal.
For many of us, this Christmas looks different. The difference may be in where and with who you spend your holiday. For others it might be financial. And for others, it might mean that someone you dearly love is not with you any longer.
Even if none of these are the reasons your Christmas joy is missing, it is easy to understand that you might just be exhausted from everything 2020 has thrown at us. The division, hurt, bitterness, and extreme drama of this year is more than I have witnessed in my lifetime.
But friend, can I whisper hope into your weary soul? God is in the business of making good of messes. He finds a way to bring beauty out of the ashes of every fire. How do I know this? Well, because His Word tells me so and I’ve lived that truth too many times to call it a coincidence.
As for those who grieve over Zion,
God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes,
To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow,
to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness.
People will call them magnificent, like great towering trees
standing for what is right.
They stand to the glory of the Eternal
who planted them. -Isaiah 61:3 VOICE
Through our trials, He brings us back to the heart of life-changing joy. To the heart of gratitude. And to the miracle of the baby born that night.
The very One who came to set us free. To give us hope and to fill us with joy.
But how do we do it? How do we keep our Christmas joy alive?
I don’t have all the answers for your particular situation, but I can tell you what I’ve learned through my experiences.
7 Ways to Rediscover Your Christmas Joy When You’re Downhearted
1. It starts in the remembering.
Remembering the miracle of that night. A love so deep and so strong, no obstacle could deter it. Not coming in grandeur, but as a humble baby in meager surroundings. Friend, He gave up Heaven for us!
2. Then leads to prayer.
With reflection of the miracle in our hearts, we reach out to God. We praise Him, thank Him, and adore Him for His great big act of love. For the freedom we have. The victory in which we can walk. And the hope we will never live without. We ask Him to be our guide. Our wisdom. Our discernment. And our strength.
3. Next is listening.
It is critical. We speak in our time of prayer and then often run. But we need to stay a bit longer to hear. Listen, soak, and sense His presence and the direction He wants us to take.
4. Then obedience.
A courageous step forward with Christ. Doing the next right thing is often the same as doing the next hardest thing.
5. Surrendering expectations of perfection.
As we obediently did the next right thing, it may go against the grain of perfectionism. It may not be as pretty, as many, or as often as perfection demands. It’s when we acknowledge God as the only author of perfection.
6. Canceling false guilt.
The next right thing may disappoint others. The enemy likes us believing we can please everyone and when we don’t, we feel guilt. Condemnation. That is not of God. We cannot please everyone. If we know our actions are pleasing to God, we can trade that guilt for truth.
7. Finally, adding laughter.
Set the to-do list aside and smile. Relax. Rest in a faith that says God has this and it will be okay. A late box mailed to a special friend? It’s okay. Laughter is a manifestation of joy. Make room for it. We must live our joy out loud!Do you need to rediscover your Christmas joy? Here are 7 ways that will make a big difference! Click To Tweet
Wait! Before You Go!
Your joy isn’t dependent on your circumstances. It’s something far deeper — more meaningful and everlasting than happiness. The encouragement I share in this place and on all of my social media channels equips you to live with that kind joy everyday.
I’d love to be a part of your journey toward deeper faith. One that nourishes your heart and helps you experience the fullness of God’s love.
You can start by subscribing below to receive your beautiful (and free!) God’s Unconditional Love Journal. You will also get the series and 7 prayers to get you on your way! Last but not least, you will also receive full access to the Library of Hope which is loaded with free printable hope-filled resources.
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