If you could use one word to describe Christmas, what word would it be? Some would use words like headache, busyness, expensive, or even bothersome. To many people Christmas is just another day, only a little more expensive and a lot more trouble. I have heard even Christians use these words to describe the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. How sad that an event that brought so much joy in Heaven should bring so little joy here on earth.
I would like to suggest to you as we begin this beautiful Christmas season that it can be a time of joy, no matter how broke you are or how busy you are. Joy is like love- it is not merely an emotion, but a decision, and I believe you can be as joyful as you want to be. It’s all in where you choose to put your focus. If you really want to have joy this Christmas season, let me suggest 3 places to focus your heart and mind.
1. Focus On J-esus Gal. 2:20 – Have we forgotten that Christmas is not primarily about us- our family, friends, church, presents- but about Him? Isn’t it easy to get so wrapped up in the celebration that we forget what it is we are supposed to be celebrating? The world does that. If you are a Christian, focusing on Jesus means that you not only remember the Savior in the manger, but remember the Savior in your heart. Remember that this baby grew up and went to the cross to pay for your sins, that He rose again to give you a new life, and that He lives in your heart today to give you joy!
2. Focus On O-thers Acts 20:35 – Paul quotes Jesus here to point out the joy of generosity. Christmas is the time we celebrate the most wonderful gift God has given us- Jesus. His focus in giving Christ to the world was His love for others, and He gave us an example that we, too should be willing to follow. Joy does not come from getting all we can get from others, but in giving all we can give to others. It is this focus on others that will bring us joy. If you want to know joy at Christmas, then discover the joy of giving. If you want joy this Christmas, find someone in need, and give of your time and your treasures. The Bible says that you will find joy there by focusing on others instead of yourself.
3. Focus On Y-ourself – Yet, there is a sense in which you are to focus on yourself. Your own attitudes determine whether or not you will experience joy this year. You can let worry, stress, unforgiveness, or discouragement rob you of the joy of Jesus. Everyone struggles sometimes, but please understand – attitude is not automatic. You choose to allow these attitudes to rule you. How do I know? Because the Bible commands us not to allow these things to rule our lives, and God would not command us to do what we cannot (in His strength) do.
You are the only person who can decide to be joyful this year! God has a gift for you this Christmas- it is the joy that you unwrap by focusing on Jesus, others, and then yourself. Don’t wait until December 25 to unwrap that gift- open it now and enjoy it!