Finding Joy at Christmas
By Julie Morris –
Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice always. Ironically, that’s sometimes hardest to do at Christmas.
God understands this, so in Philippians 4:5-6 (NIV) He gives us steps to take that help us find joy when we’re feeling stressed out, experiencing pain, or grieving a loss during the holidays: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
#1 Step to Joy “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”
Gentleness doesn’t imply weakness. It means to show kindness and consideration for everyone–even in the midst of frantic Christmas shoppers in the mall or the chaos of holiday traffic.
#2 Step to Joy Remember that “the Lord is near.”
He will help us to find joy if we focus on Him and rely on Him to help us.
#3 Step to Joy “Do not be anxious about anything.”
This doesn’t mean that if we are worried, we need to deny it or be ashamed of it. It means that worry is not in God’s plan for us—and He will help us to let go of our anxious thoughts if we bring our fears to Him.
#4 Step to Joy “In everything, by prayer and petition….”
Petition is a more formal way of communicating. When a petition is presented, it’s always done in writing. This verse encourages us to write down everything that causes us stress and pray about each one.
#5 Step to Joy “Present your requests to God…”
We do this by pouring out our hearts to God—giving Him our requests (not demands).
#6 Step to Joy Present our requests to God… “with thanksgiving.”
We take this step by writing a list of things we have to be thankful for and spending time thanking God for each one.
When we work through the steps to joy in Philippians 4:5-6, we find that we not only begin to experience His joy, but His peace as well.
Every day between now and Christmas—starting today—take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to follow these steps and rejoice in the Lord. If it helps you as much as it has helped me, continue to do this daily in 2012. If you do, I’ll bet that you will find joy during the holidays and throughout the new year, and you’ll be surprised to discover that peace will come along with it too!