Finding JOY

In this season it is easy to get lost in all the boxes, wrapping paper, baking and parties. We can get stuck in the box wrapped all nicely by the Christmas tree. There are so many good things happening and it can feel like the world is pulling you like little children who all want different things. 
This season is supposed to be filled with happy memories. 
My goal this year is to find JOY! I want to be joyful in each moment. Joyful that its bitter cold outside because if you’ve every lived in Minnesota you now what it must feel like to live at the North Pole. When the wind hits you, it burns your face and you can’t even catch a breath anymore. It’s the kind of cold arctic weather that makes you never want to step foot outside again.  
I am JOYFUL for a warm house with coffee!
I am JOYFUL that we get to visit more frequently family and friends around this time of year. Its about the conversations and the things we do together and not about the food, our how clean our house is, or how well it is decorated. 
My desire is that my children can learn to be JOYFUL too. JOYFUL in giving gifts to others. It’s not about the size of the gift. It’s about smiling and saying thank you to those whom we meet. My children who are eagerly asking me if they can have some coins to place in the tin can for Salvation Army. (They love hearing the clinging sound it makes.) It doesn’t matter if its pennies or dollar bills. It’s about teaching them to be generous and JOYFUL. 
It can be easy to compare ourselves with others and take on the attitude that I have nothing to give. That’s not true. It’s not about the amount but about the heart. That is what God is after-it is what He wants. We can’t stop being generous just because we can’t keep up with the Jones’s. Because God doesn’t care if you’re like the Jones’s because you’re not them. He wants you to be you and live in your identity in Him 
I had to tell myself as my girls begged me to bake cut out cookies with them, that it’s not about how neat and clean we can make this. However it’s about the memories and the desire in their hearts to give them to others (and taste test a few of them.) I’ve had to learn that being JOYFUL can be messy and silly at times. That I need to get out of my box of what I expect in order for myself to learn what JOYFUL truly is.
Christmas is bigger than anything else. Christmas is about Jesus and how He has come to meet us at all times. In all capacities. Jesus comes in our time of pain, joy, despair, anger, misunderstandings, in seasons of wealth and of pennies. He meets us right where we are at – in our emotions and feelings. He has come. Let’s be JOYFUL together that we have a friend who is with us at all times. Even when we don’t feel like he is there – he is. 
Let’s give with JOY! Let’s give hugs and warm greetings. Let’s give words of encouragement. Let’s give forgiveness. Let’s be thankful. Let’s let go of the nicely wrapped presents and the pressures of being like the Jones. Let’s embrace our silly and messy memories with each other.  

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