Gratitude Day 543
Fri., Dec. 18, 2020
Matthew 2:10 – And when they saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy.
The packaged arrive right at the beginning of Advent. I recognized the handwriting and return address immediately. It was from a dear friend of mine.
When I opened the package, this is what I found inside. A beautifully quilted runner or wall hanging with one word in huge letters: JOY.
JOY. At times, I’ve struggled find JOY during 2020. This hasn’t been the year overflowing with balloons and confetti and cups of cheer. And yet … here we are during the time that is often considered the most joy-filled time of the year.
JOY. Exactly what we NEED this year.
JOY. The opportunity to lighten things up and reflect upon what we have instead of what’s missing or challenging us.
JOY. Smiles, laughter and lots and lots of happiness.
There were men who lived in the east who discovered a star that was so much brighter than any other star. They did some research and concluded that the star might be a special indicator of a coming king.
So, they packed up the necessary things that they might need. Then, they traveled for months, looking for the king. This wasn’t a quick, overnight jaunt. No, the wise men spent weeks and months following a star.
Sleeping in the cold.
Running out of food and water.
Dealing with the heat one day and the freezing cold soon after.
The traveled and traveled and traveled.
I imagine them wondering if they would ever “get there.”
And if they did, would they be able to actually see the newborn king?
Would they recognize him?
The days must have felt long and unending and unfulfilling.
Should they keep going? Or turn around and go home?
They chose to keep going. Wondering if they would ever experience JOY from their arduous journey.
They keep going. Following the star. Trusting there would be something at the end of the journey.
When they saw the star stop over the place where Jesus was, their reaction was simple: JOY.
JOY. After days and weeks and months of traveling, they felt JOY. After periods of time when they weren’t sure they kept going, they did. And their reward? JOY.
We’re one week from Christmas. I’ve been feeling like there are several things that I haven’t completed before Christmas. I haven’t put a card in the mail. I would love to bake some cookies, finish a couple presents yet and make some porch deliveries. It can feel like this is all a lot of work. Lots of time. Unsure how it will get done.
But if we approach these things as “work,” then somehow, the JOY gets removed. And we’ve lost the reason for the season. The purpose for even celebrating the birth of a baby.
So, this is what I’m going to do for the next week: find JOY. Celebrate what gets done and let go of what doesn’t. Keep my eyes on the star and celebrate with great JOY as Advent turns into Christmas.
JOY. It’s so simple. Not complicated … until we don’t have it.
JOY. What the wise men chose to celebrate.
And what I pray we choose to embrace during these days coming up to Christmas.
Christmas will come whether we have everything “done” or not. What we do get it choose is whether JOY will be at the very center of what we focus on these next several days.
I pray we discover abundant amounts of JOY this Christmas. And this will help make this an incredibly special Christmas indeed.
For this important reminder that JOY is a huge part of Christmas, I am grateful.
Holy God – there can be so many emotions with Christmas. Especially this year when everything feels a bit out of whack. I pray we allow JOY to be an important and deeply meaningful part of our celebrations these next week. May the lesson of the wise men’s JOY inspire us. Amen.
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