Our minds are intricate in how they hold memories and emotion. We can associate a day, smell, season, color, place with countless states of being. It’s like reliving seconds of life that our bodies have been engraved with. Specifically, for many people, the holidays are an intensified time for this to occur. Anything from excitement to brokenness, Christmas season embellishes it all. We search for tradition, laughter, structure, love, forgiveness- it tends to be an opportunity to linger on our past and what has or hasn’t happened in lieu of it.
Regardless of our personal place within the spectrum, there’s a word that gets thrown around as if it is a gift to be unwrapped. Joy is undoubtedly the most used term I hear around Christmas- that we should be filled with it, have it, create it, and look forward to it. It is often used as an end goal for that month or couple days of family functions. It’s a backboard to those that struggle with grief or strife, and a conditional emotion for those that strive for it. We hear and use the term, hoping for it to fulfill and/or fix our current life. It’s a destination, rather than abiding.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overthrow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
My heart has been overwhelmed with the concept of joy being a completeness in Him, rather than a position of life. We identify this term with a contingency that requires achieving. We assume something specific must be occurring, or has happened, in order to win joy. We place it at the end of the finish line and run an individual race in the hope to earn it.
I have been guilty of this many times, asking God to create a joyful state of life, forgetting that He is the joyful way of living. In Him we are given an invariable and unarguable comfort that we cannot “gain” through worldly situations.
Having a joyful spirit means grasping the truth that we are saved with Jesus, and have an eternal promise in Heaven. Let that beautiful picture overrun your state of being, and let Him be the reason for the season; and everything in between. Let our devotion to Him only continue, rather than subside when the tree comes down and the festivities end- let our hearts stay firm on the gift He’s given, and let His sacrifice always be our foundation in life.
The joy we seek is created and fed through His gracious love- without it, we will continuously be searching. It will become that end goal we can’t seem to reach, and the run itself lonely and empty. But through the birth of a humbling savior, we can live our lives unashamed, unafraid, and full of joy.