Christmas is ever so nearly here. That means presents. Buying presents. Wrapping presents. Giving presents. Receiving presents. It’s all about the presents. Then it’s boxing day… it’s all over… for another year. The thought this week is:
Seek joy in what you give not in what you get.
This is a great message in relation to presents… spoiler alert… Christmas is not all about the presents! But that is not what I want to focus on.
So often there is such a huge build up to Christmas, what with decorations, parties, carol singing and so much more, that we have that joy and excitement but then it seems to go and disappear and you can feel a little deflated.
But that was not the case with the story of Jesus. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was just a part of the story which is continuing today. It wasn’t even the beginning of the story, and we can be a part of that story today.
The joy that we think about at advent is a fruit of the spirit. Joy comes from relationship with God it is a state of contentment, confidence and hope. Joy is something that we can have all year round, not just when the Christmas music is on the radio, or once we have opened the presents.
The part of the thought for the week I want to focus on is “Seek joy”
In the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth two groups of people sought Jesus. The shepherds and the wise men knew that there was something special, that was going to bring great joy and they went to find it.
Joy isn’t something that we just get given by God, it is something we need to seek. I am sure that many of my facebook ‘friends’ are convinced that I have the most fantastic life. Well, yes, personally I think my life is pretty great, but it’s definitely not all plain sailing, there are pitfalls on the way and tough days. However, I choose not to share those on facebook. I tell close friends but on facebook I share the excitement in my life, both in special occasions but also in the mundane.
Henri Nouwen said “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
Do you choose to find the joy, to recognise the good in people, in life, in the world? As I said joy is a fruit of the spirit – as with all fruits as they grow they bear more fruit. As you recognise and receive joy, you will then share that with others, they will then grow and share…
We should also encourage joy. We’ve all had those days when we have felt rubbish and there’s always one person who is so excitable about what we may consider to be nothing. It is so tempting to bring them down to our state of mind. But actually we are taught to allow people to be joyful and to encourage them to be so.
We live in a world which thrives on the negative things. We have the possibility to seek the good, and to bring joy to a world that needs it. When Jesus was born, he bought joy to the world, some recognised that joy, some sought it out, some rejected it. Who are you going to be? How are you going to react to the good news of Jesus Christ’s birth?
Prayer: Father God we thank you that you give us so much. We pray that we will recognise the joy in our every day lives and share that with others. Amen
Challenge: Try to look for the joy each day, and share that joy with others.