When It’s Hard to Find Joy During the Holiday Season

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 NASB).

What if I don’t feel thankful or grateful? Headlines are hard to read when they contain bus crashes involving children, suffering around the world, deceit, riots and so much violence. We live in a real, hard world where families, the core part of our culture, are falling apart. The dark cloud of oppression hovers heavy, and the weight of the world presses down hard.

In the midst of it all, it may be hard to find joy, because joy is not found in what is happening around us.

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Yet, Paul commands us to “Rejoice!” He commands those who believe in a Living Hope to rejoice in the Lord regardless of the circumstances.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:4-6 NASB).

The joy Paul refers to does not rely on what is happening around us, rather what has happened within us, and what is to come. There is so much more than what we can see.

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Happiness relies on what is happening around us.

When life is good, we are happy.  If life is not going well, we are not happy.

Happiness does not give us joy, but joy does give us happiness.  

In life, there is nothing you may rely on completely, but the place where joy is found…and joy is found in a very special place. 

The place of God’s greatest sacrifice is where the death of His Son gave birth to our eternal life.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us (1 John 3:16 NASB).

For this reason, even in this hurting world, our humble hearts turn toward the cross to give thanks. It’s not thanks for what is happening around us, but thanks for what was finished on the cross.

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He gave up His Son for me and gave me the gift of grace.

Regardless of what is happening in the world, the gift of grace replaces fear, hostility, hate, and loneliness. It fills hearts with the peace which transcends understanding and gives deep, abiding joy.

When Jesus left, God gave us the gift of His presence “God with us”…. Immanuel.

Joy is found in the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit,
and the presence of the Holy Spirit is found in you. 

The presence of the Holy Spirit fills us with joy. We are not alone.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8 NASB).

If you have Christ, then you may have joy in all things because He is in all things.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

He is sovereign. He is certain, He is true, and His joy will never fail.  When I don’t choose joy the oppression weighs in and begins to take over.

Choosing Christ means my soul chooses more than happiness. I choose eternal joy.
When we feel happy the choice is easy, but when we feel sad, we still have the opportunity to choose joy.

…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus knows pain. Jesus knows shame. Jesus wept. Despised and rejected, but for the eternal joy, Jesus endured the cross and then rose again to be with The Father.

Heavenly Father,
  I praise You for Your constant presence in our ever-changing world.   I praise You for the sacrifice of Your Son, whose death on the cross gives me eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit… which gives me grace, peace, & joy!  Joy is found in His presence, and You are always present – for that I am so grateful.  You know my pain, my hurts, and what weights my heart down.  Today I choose joy. May my heart feel the joy that my mind comprehends.
In the precious name of Jesus I pray,

Amen

Regardless of what is going on around you, I am praying for your hearts to find joy and feel the joy that comes when you belong to Christ.

Many blessings,

Mindy-2

 

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