I love Christmas–always have. It’s my favorite time of year, and not just because it involves presents and fudge. Those are perks, though, I’ll have to say. No, I love Christmas because you can feel tangible joy in the air.
We put “Peace, Love and Joy” on our Christmas cards. We sing, “Joy to the World.” Yes, it seems that Christmas and joy go hand-in-hand. And when joy is present–hope, expectation and excitement all tag along.
It’s a season when most everyone is more joyful. Even scrooges and grinches get a little jollier at Christmastime, right?
But, “most everyone” isn’t everyone, so I realize that there are some folks whose joy level is low this time of year–maybe because it’s the first holiday season without a loved one, or because money is very tight, or simply because it’s getting colder and the days are getting shorter.
No matter the reason, if your joy level is a little low today, here are three ways you can fix it, and it comes via “Buddy the Elf.”
You remember, Buddy, from the movie “Elf” right? He was probably the most joyful elf of all. (“I just like to smile; smiling’s my favorite!”)
Well, we’re going to use the letters E, L, F to guide us on this journey to find more joy. Let’s call it “Operation ELF”:
- Experience God. Sure you may know ABOUT God, but I want you to experience Him as your Abba Father, like a Daddy.
I think some people envision God as some big, old, bearded guy who sits up in heaven with a huge club, ready to whack them on the head each time they make a mistake. In reality, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. God isn’t mad at you. He is madly in love with you!
Ephesians 1:4-5 says: “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (NLT).
Did you get that? He loved you and chose you long before there was “a you.” He flat out adores you. Meditate on that truth today and experience God and His love like never before.
- Live the Love. If you’re feeling less than joyful, invest in someone else’s life. As you “live the love,” and do something selfless for another person, it increases your joy level. It’s a win/win!
So, why not grab an angel from the Angel Tree and bless that child who might not get any Christmas presents unless you step out in faith?
Or, be somebody’s Secret Santa at your workplace or in your home and surprise that person with encouragement notes, Christmas cookies, and candy canes throughout this season.
Or, simply offer to watch your frazzled neighbor’s kids so she can get her Christmas shopping done. Live the love this season and throughout the coming year!
- Forget the past. The Christmas Season is a time of new beginnings. As Christians, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, which signifies a new beginning for all of us, right?
And, on the heels of Christmas, we have New Year’s Day–the beginning of 2015. That’s when you put away the disappointments and failures of 2014 and look forward to the New Year with great hope and anticipation. Expect God to do big things through you in the coming year. Be excited!
And, I’d like to add one more “F”–forgive. Nothing can steal your joy quicker than unforgiveness, so if you’ve been harboring ill feelings toward someone, it’s time to forgive and forget.
Even if that person didn’t ask for your forgiveness, you can still forgive. God will help you. It doesn’t matter if you don't feel like forgiving, God tells us in His Word that we have to–it’s a command, so that means unforgiveness isn’t an option. I’ve checked it out, trust me. So, forgive by faith, and let God do the rest.
There you have it–if you’re low on joy this season, just remember: Operation ELF.
Pray this with me:
Father, I know that Your joy is the source of my strength, so I am asking You to infuse Your joy into me so that I might share it with others who might also need a joy boost this season.
And, Father, help me to experience You more fully, to live the love more freely, and to forget the past and forgive others by faith. I love You, Lord. In the Mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.