Dec. 21, 2017

Joy to the World!

 

Christmas time is here. I like to review my life through memories of Christmases past. It helps me remember simpler times as a child when I didn’t have to form an opinion on anything. It reminds me of those who have gone before me. It allows me to reminisce of the days when small children ruled our home and our hearts.

Christmas time is a magical time because it is filled with lights, decorations, parties, crowds, and programs that remind us to focus on what we give in life as opposed to what we get out of life.

For other folks, Christmas evokes great pain. They may not have fond memories of Christmases past. One adult woman shared with me recently that she begins to feel anxious around Thanksgiving and the panic remains throughout the holidays. Her childhood was filled with drunken parents, no money, no food, the embarrassment of returning to school without all the new clothes and no gifts. It is a documented fact that the holidays trigger some amount of stress on everyone; most especially, those who have experienced great loss in their lives.

If we go along with the words to the song and this is the season to be jolly, how can we enjoy our Christmas while helping others through their pain?

Love. Pure and simple, I must learn to love others more than I love myself. I must remember that God comes first, others come second, and I matter – but I don’t matter the most. There is an acrostic that lists the joy of Christmas this way:

Jesus first

Others second

Yourself last

Jesus is the reason for the season. As Christ-followers, we must follow His example realizing that He expects us to feel concern for others. Reminding ourselves that we matter helps complete the joy of Christmas. Our wants, wishes, desires, and passions matter, but they don’t matter more than others. YJO simply isn’t a word and it doesn’t make sense. <wink>

Be thinking. What is something extra special you can do for the remainder of this holiday season that puts Jesus first; others second; and ourselves last? Don’t worry…I’m thinking, too. I’ve decided the greatest gift I can give right now is to hide or scroll past the political comments on Facebook posted by people I love and admire. If I am going to practice what I preach, Jesus must remain at the top of my Christmas list. 

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in the knowledge and profound insight, so that you can discern what is best, that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10