Do the holidays generate a whirlwind of conflicting emotions that will leave you feeling tired, discouraged and unhappy instead of feeling happy?
The Google definition of merry is …
1. Full of spiritual gaiety; jolly.
2. Marked by or offering pleasure and cheerfulness; festive: a happy evening.
Difficult circumstances, disappointment, loss, financial hardship or fear of an uncertain future can potentially steal the joy of the holiday season. These problems are not new. Mary and Joseph, the wise men and the shepherds probably also had problems. Mary was dealing with a single mother, forced to take a car ride on a donkey, eventually. Joseph was the husband of the woman taking a trip on the road, on a donkey, at term (and not the father of the baby). The wise men had to admit that they could not explain the unusual star and leave their comfort zone, and the shepherds had to leave their herds unattended to go see a baby. They probably felt helpless, vulnerable and uncontrollable. This is a recipe for depression. According to a prominent psychologist, these desperate feelings are at the root of most situations that lead people to seek professional help for their depression.
BUT, Jesus chose to leave heaven and became this baby in a stinking barn. He chose to come to die so that we can be forgiven and enjoy his presence forever in our lives. It's a reason for joy !! Joy for the world does not mean that I have to be insightful all the time. Life is hard! But we can choose to focus on the gift – Emmanuel – God with us. When we choose to change our minds from the difficult circumstances of life to the God who loves us so much that he sent his Son – We choose JOY.
Once Mary, Joseph, the sages and shepherds experienced the wonder of this first Christmas, it is likely that they never looked at life in the same way again. They saw that God's plan in the difficult circumstances had a purpose and a wonderful and amazing result. Probably, they trusted him to continue to control their lives and to reconcile everything for the good of Romans 8:28.
My prayer for my friends, my family and myself is that this holiday season and in the months to come we will be filled with joy because God is with us and that He controls everything.