My family and friends know that by the time September hits, the Christmas season has pretty much begun for me. While other people are thinking about school holidays and sport, I’m already beginning to dream about decorations, gift ideas, Christmas parties and perhaps even playing some Christmas music (secretly of course). I just love the feeling of Christmas. Do you know what I mean? It’s that magical excitement that stirs when decorations start to appear in stores. Gifts are bought and wrapped, trees are trimmed, Christmas movies are watched and candles are lit (Christmas scented of course). However, even though these things do bring great joy, my favourite part of Christmas is celebrating the joy bringer himself.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given … and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah 9:6, NLT). The weight of hope that flows through these words carries truth and life. Here we find ourselves in a season where miraculous hope has suddenly invaded descended upon our planet. The whole world is looking to Jesus! However, despite the reality of this abundant hope, sometimes rather than overflowing with joy, we can actually become overwhelmed by busyness. Ticking off to do lists, sticking to (or going over) budgets, and watching our December calendar fill up right before our very eyes, all become the focus of our attention. All of a sudden we’ve boarded the train to “anxious-ville” and we can’t wait for Christmas to be over. What? Seriously! How crazy is that?!
But good news, this is not what our heavenly Dad has for us. Stress is not his will for our life. Instead of anxiousness and fear; peace, rest and joy are his gifts to us this season. Even as you read this article, I pray that his refreshing presence would wash over you, bringing life to your soul. The word ‘refresh’ means, “to give new strength or energy to; to reinvigorate” (Oxford Dictionary). However if you think about it with reference to a computer, ‘refresh’ means, “to reload and create an updated version of a website” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). God wants to reload us with strength, renew our minds, and refresh us with joy this season.
God is into exchanges. He loves taking our mess and replacing it with order. When he presses ‘refresh’; everything else fades away, and rest, hope, peace and joy come. In the midst of a flurry of to do lists, deadlines and appointments, joy is what he has for you. When it’s noisy, he gives you quiet. When things are moving too fast, he stills your soul. His promise for you today is, “I will lead you to quiet waters and restore your soul” (Psalm 23:2-3). Here are some ways you can be refreshed by joy this season.
5 WAYS TO BE REFRESHED BY JOY THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON:
Stop and remember.
What an incredible day that was, when hope entered the world. The finest of plans, meticulously set in place from the foundations of the earth, finally ready to come to pass. Stop and remember. That day, a waiting world watched. A Father’s generosity was poured out. And a Saviour came for the joy set before him. That’s you. What a reason to celebrate!
Instead of being overwhelmed, trust.
Worrying never helps the situation. Even though it feels like it’s helping, it’s not. Choose to consciously turn your affection towards him, despite feeling overwhelmed. In an instant his presence comes. “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for (his) voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Prov 3:5-6, MSG)
Rest in his presence.
All it takes is one moment in his presence. “In his presence is joyful abundance!” (Psalm 16:11, ISV). He is always there waiting with so much goodness for you. The second you turn your affection to him; the connection is instant. This season, his joy changes everything. And he’s waiting right now with a fresh batch for you.
Thankfulness releases the miraculous. When you begin to thank God for the blessings around you, big or small, your perspective changes and hope invades. God says to you, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (Rev 4:1) Instead of being overwhelmed by small thinking, let thankfulness elevate you to a place where joy abounds.
Have fun… It’s Christmas!
Think about kids. They don’t do anything unless it’s fun. So, it’s time for you to have some fun. Sometimes as adults we think we’re “too old” to really get into all the celebrations. Well I am here to tell you that you have permission to have fun this Christmas! So get ready because guess what… it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
So right now, take a deep breath. Breathe in his presence. Rest in his love and be encouraged. You are doing an amazing job and I am cheering you on! God bless you and Merry Christmas. CW
Natalie Box is a writer, blogger and voiceover artist. She’s passionate about encouraging people to dream bigger and to walk in all God has created them to be. You can visit her blog at www.thewritersink.com.au for a daily dose of encouragement, inspiration and beauty.