As we enter this Christmas season, I’ve been pondering the notion of joy. How do we get joy? Is there a formula? Can we be joyful even if are circumstances try to bring us down? I love this verse at the end of Esther, after God delivered the Jews from Haman’s wicked plans.
He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.
The Jewish people were to set the day of their freedom apart as holy and remember God’s goodness by giving gifts to one another and to those in need. They did this all to remember how God turned their tears into happiness and their sadness to joy! WOW! Christmas is a lot like this Jewish celebration. We give gifts to each other and many people also give to those in need in our communities.
I propose a challenge for this Christmas season. Every time you wrap a gift, take a minute to remember a moment when God turned your sorrow into joy. It could be a week ago or it could be ten years ago! By the time Christmas day rolls around, you will have remembered many instances of God’s provision in your life. How could we not be joyful when thankfulness is flooding our hearts?
Try this challenge and write down your experiences in a journal. You may be surprised at what you remember, how your joy is increased, or you may find yourself undone once again in the presence of God.
Even though we may be walking through times of plenty or times of need, looking back at the things God has done for us will always increase our thankfulness and give us joy for now!