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The Recipe for Joy

Are you sure you have time to read this blog post? I mean don’t you need to be finding a gift for your child’s teacher, making family plans for the big day, making a dent in your Amazon Wish List or at least finish decorating your Christmas Tree?

Of course you do. We all do. There’s tons left to do over the next 3 weeks. And the truth is (and we all are painfully aware of this) these things we have left to do are prone to causing us stress and frustration- Have you ever ran out of tape at 11pm on Christmas Eve? Let’s just say it will lead you to an anger filled search like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad when they are trying to find the last Turbo-Man in Jingle All The Way. You will stop at nothing!!

But is this anxiety, stress, and overwhelm inevitable this Christmas season? Are we destined to fight with our spouse over how much to spend on Aunt Suzy and snap at our kids when they are asking for something we didn’t get them? It feels like it doesn’t it?

That feeling comes in stark contrast to the word we see a lot this time of year… “Joy”. This word is in our neighbor’s lawn decorations, we sing about it in Christmas songs and it’s printed on our Christmas ornaments on our very own tree – yet to many it feels so distant.

There’s too much to do and too little time and money to do it. Joy isn’t possible this Christmas.

That’s true if your source of joy is the completion of your to-do list.

If your source of joy is having a clean home when company comes – get ready…
If your source of joy is finding the perfect gift for your nephew- get ready…
If your source of joy is having your child hit every note in their school’s Christmas program- get ready…

You are on a crash course for overwhelm.

Get ready for the stressed induced eating, the overbuying and the arguments with the people you love the most.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Really, it doesn’t.

We simply have to change the source of our joy.

When you read about an individual having joy in scripture – it’s almost always tied into the saving nature of God. Just look at a couple of verses…

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11

who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:5-6

Joy isn’t tied to having the perfectly decorated house, buying everyone the best gift, or being on time to all the activities you have over the next 3 weeks…

Joy is tied to the very nature of God – specifically the fact that he has offered a free gift of salvation.

That is what makes this time of year so special. God sent his Son into the world, as a baby, to bring us salvation from what we really deserve.

And while most of those who are reading this have heard that last sentence before and many even agree with it- somehow it hasn’t really equated to joy.

We have the Nativity Scene up, we go to church, we even have Christmas cookies the shape of Baby Jesus – yet no joy.

The solution might be more simple than you think…

Change your focus…

The author of Hebrews says this in Hebrews 12…

“ Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

You want joy this Christmas season? There’s your solution!

Focus on Jesus. I mean REALLY focus on Him.

Before you keep scrolling on Facebook – thank Him for His Grace.
When you wake up tomorrow morning – praise Him for His Goodness.
When you are in the car heading to and from work – focus on the undeserved forgiveness He provides you.

Fix your eyes on Jesus – It’s the Bible’s recipe for Joy :)

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