Blogging Through the Alphabet: J is for Joy (Can Joy and Christmas Really Coexist?)

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So, I’m scanning through words that start with “j” trying to come up with an idea for my Blogging Through the Alphabet post this week? (I may or may not confess to using a Scrabble word finder.) And my mind keeps coming back to “Joy” because it’s Christmas, right? But the problem is for me (and I would suspect for others brave enough to admit it) that Christmas isn’t always joyful.

Christmas, although touted as being full of peace and joy and goodwill, often doesn’t bring those good feelings at all. There’s lots of stress surrounding Christmas. There’s the compulsion to decorate beautifully. There’s pressure to bake the best holiday goodies. There’s the time commitment of attending parties and church programs and carol sings and family get togethers.

For some, Christmas is a reminder that people we love aren’t here. There are happy memories of them but it can be bittersweet because they aren’t here now. Sometimes it’s hard to move past that sadness and make new Christmas memories.

So I sit and I wonder, does Joy really coexist with Christmas? Can I manage to put on my happy face and write a blog post about J is for Joy at Christmas and conjure up sweet feelings and tidings of peace and goodwill?

But then it hits me. Joy isn’t about what’s going on around me at all. Joy is not an externally based emotion. Joy comes from inside. And, you know what? Inside, I have the best reason at all to be joyful. I have a Savior Who came to earth as a baby, Who walked on earth as a man with the same trials and struggles that I have, Who chose to walk a path that was different from others in His time, Who ended up dying in a painful and tragic way, and Who rose from the dead so that I can have real Joy.

I’m not joyful because life is rosy and easy at Christmas time. I’m joyful because I choose to be joyful because the Jesus we celebrate at Christmas time lives in me. In His strength I choose to be joyful when decorations look pretty pitiful. I choose to be joyful when the cookies burn. I choose to be joyful when I’m racing out the door for the 50th Christmas event of the season. I choose to be joyful even when I am missing someone who isn’t here anymore. Joy and Christmas can coexist because I choose Joy.

You can join in on Blogging Through the Alphabet at Ben and Me.

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