My theme for 2017 matches the traditional theme for Advent’s third Sunday: joy. How did I do with reflecting joy this year?
With Philippians 4:4 as my key verse, I practiced rejoicing…over and over again. I did this when I didn’t feel like it. I did it when I did feel more like it, yet seemed to forget joy in my moments of happiness.
I read books about happiness. I learned through Randy Alcorn’s study titled Happiness that happiness and joy are more akin to one another than I had been taught in church. It’s not unspiritual to be happy. There are many ways to seek out happiness, according to Gretchen Rubin’s books. But, through scripture, I learned that true joy is found in acknowledging happiness while enjoying all God has given me.
I am reminded, too, of a trick I learned years ago. In order to correctly sing the word rejoice, it is pronounced as re-choice. Some of my most joyous moments happened when applying an attitudinal choice. I could choose joy as we condsidered a move out-of-state. I could also choose joy when the move didn’t happen. I had to readjust my thinking about many things. I continue readjusting my thinking by applying Philippians 4:8. That’s my continued goal for 2018.
What is your re-choice to rejoice this Christmas season?
One of the seemingly hopeless aspects of Christmas is decluttering. Not only is there the routine cleaning, but the additional decor sometimes gets in the way. For example, my new Deebot keeps getting stuck in the tree skirt.
As an assortment of gifts multiply under the tree, I wish I could ignore the stacks of boxes going unsorted in my basement. What treasures must be buried there? Maybe there is something I could re-gift. If only I was as good at labeling those boxes.
Time during the Christmas season becomes cluttered, too. There are gifts to be made and purchased. Events require attendance.
The only thing decluttering is my diminishing bank account.
Yet, everything gets done–eventually. Time must be made for the most important things. People require attending as well. There are gifts to give and receive. Something happens when we take the time to give acts of service, words of encouragement, and hugs. Maybe the best thing we can do is spend quality time listening over coffee and cookies.
After all, those boxes in the basement aren’t going anywhere. They can wait until January.
December 5 is a bit late for the first accumulating snow. But, then, Minnesota weather is rarely predictable. A week ago, I could go outside without a jacket. I think that won’t be the case until at least April. Maybe May.
Yet, there is comfort in the predictable unpredictability of weather. Bleak days are often followed by brilliant ones. Sometimes both happen in the same twenty-four hours–the clouds barely outlined with a hidden glimmer until they can no longer hold back the streaming gleam. On those days, hope becomes visible with glinting snow and gently melting ice. On those days, I ignore the weather report and simply gaze in amazement.
On December 4, I traversed the storm to meet with my six college friends for our monthly coffee gathering. Somehow we have managed to meet most months over the past twenty-one years. Sometimes we can’t all be there, but the effort is made. We set times and places to share about the mundane and the exciting. We chat and laugh over nothing. We listen and cry over the significant. We rejoice. We sorrow.
We have traversed some storms together. Yet, more often than not, we have celebrated the reliefs in life. Somehow we make it back to the familiar times and places of warm comfort found in lifetime friendship.