“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:10-12
“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.” Brother Lawrence
- Beautiful daughter, the King of Kings is eager to meet with you! Grab your Bible, journal, and pen and go to that special place of solitude and comfort. Invite God’s presence and ask Him to open your eyes and ears to His Word today.
- Read Luke 2:10-12. If you have time, read the entire chapter.
Oftentimes, when I am in the midst of the Christmas season, I become distracted by my to-do list and the merry-making (or lack-thereof) around me, and then I quickly become overwrought or even discouraged. Perhaps you can relate? For Christians, December marks the celebration of our Savior’s birth, yet it seems to be one of the most difficult months to walk through with genuine rejoicing. What happened to this being the most wonderful time of the year? What happened to peace on earth? What happened to goodwill towards men? Each of these questions roll around in my mind and heart, as I “survive the season” with children who are bickering, family and friends who are vying for our time, and a husband who receives minimal attention from his exhausted and disenchanted wife. How can I find the Messiah amidst the distractions and grasp the great joy for all people in a world drowning out the voice of the Savior?
Last Christmas, as I was searching for answers to this yearly challenge, God gently revealed the answer in His Word. Joy—true joy, will only be found in His presence. At the foot of the manger, where the Good News, the Light of the world, lay among us; at the foot of the cross where our Savior hung for our punishment; and outside the empty tomb where death itself was defeated and Christ rose, victorious. His presence. That continual conversation and adoration of the One that was, and is, and is to come. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:5-11). God promises that if we linger in Him, we will bear much fruit. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). He also tells us, so that our joy may be complete, apart from Him we can do nothing. Sobering news. No matter how hard we try, we cannot be joyful in our own power. We must stay in His presence because only there will we experience the complete joy He desires us to have, just as we were promised on the very first Christmas.
If you are feeling stressed, distracted, or disheartened this Christmas, allow me to encourage you. There is wonderful joy ahead! Simply step into the Lord’s waiting arms and allow Him to fill you, beloved. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” This is why He came; to have intimacy with us—to dwell among us and rescue us. He made it so easy for us to find Him, and He is eager for us to find Him. Begin the conversation today and allow your heart to be transformed this Christmas as you practice His presence, as you practice joy.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Am I allowing distractions to rob me of my joy?
- How can I practice the presence of God and model true joy for my family?
- Here are some scriptures to read and journal that will help you walk more closely with your Savior:
1 Chronicles 16:27, Psalm 16:11, 1 Chronicles 29:22, and Psalm 5:11.
The presence of God is the daily, minute-by-minute conversation with the Father, just as if He were physically beside you. As you walk through this week, utter regular prayers of thanksgiving to Him as well as petitions for wisdom, etc. These simple, yet profound, acts of joyous adoration and trust will transform your life and the lives of those around you:
“Father, thank you for the green light since I am running late.”
“Lord, thank you for the mess on my kitchen counter because it means my home is full of children.”
“God, thank you for all these invitations from our loved ones who surround us. Show us what you desire our agenda to be this week!”
“Jesus, show me what to buy at the store. Put blinders on my eyes to all the things I do not need, and help me to be a good steward of the resources you have given us.”
“Lord, I am really struggling with time management right now, show me what I need to do today and what can wait for tomorrow.”
When you do fall off the bandwagon and grow distracted, as we all do from time to time, do not punish yourself with feelings of condemnation, for God does not condemn (Romans 8:1). But rather, stop and pray, “Lord, thank you for reminding me of my need of you! Help me to continually seek your presence and practice joy.”