Gratitude Day 862

Luke 2:10:But the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! 

We hear, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year …”

And yet, sometimes, we wonder IF it really is.

I’m here to assure you that yes! This IS a wonderful time of the year.

Truth? We will each decide whether it is a wonderful, joy-filled time or not.

Will we fret and worry and get ourselves worked about ALL. THAT. WE. HAVE. TO DO?

Or, will we simply enjoy the season? Carve out time to make sure it IS as joy-filled as we want it to be?

Seriously. I’m on the joy-filled bus and I pray that you will be as well.

What does it mean to be on the joy-filled bus?

  • You long to have a meaningful month that honors and remembers the reason for the season.
  • You chose to do the things that bring YOU great joy and let those things that feel like an obligation be forgotten.
  • You chose every day to find some little moment of joy and let that be one of your last thoughts at the end of the day.

Today, I’m sharing with us a few ways to bring some of that JOY! into your Advent and Christmas season. Ideas that I pray will allow you to breathe a bit more and fill your heart with all the joy and goodness that we desperately need.

Want to fill your heart and soul with joy? Let’s Go.

Find the wonder of the Christmas story and Jesus once again.

Interestingly, there are 24 chapters in Luke’s gospel. If you read one chapter a day for the next 24 days, you will have read the entire Gospel of Luke before Christmas! You can see how the birth of Jesus sets the stage for everything else that Jesus does. You’ll see how what started in a manger doesn’t end on a cross but can continue to live in each of our hearts.

One chapter a day is about five minutes a day. Five less minutes on social media than you are used to. Up for the challenge? Great. See how Jesus can creep into your heart and bring you JOY this season.

Pick one area to decorate and decorate it well.

Overwhelmed with the thought of decorating? Forget about doing all of that. Pick one small area in your house and decorate it well.

Make or pick up a Christmas porch pot and put it near the front of you house. Your house is decorated. If you are feeling a bit more festive, drape a set of white lights through it. Outside decorated. Check.

Aren’t feeling up to decorating your entire house? No problem. Put a little tabletop tree on your coffee table or kitchen island or another other table. Your house is decorated. Check. Make a cup of hot chocolate. Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket. Think about how cold it might have been on that first Christmas night and you are in a warm house.  

Don’t have a small tree? Decorate your mantel. Put a wreath on one door. Light a good smelling candle. That’s all you have to do. Do all those tubs and boxes of Christmas decorations feel overwhelming? Donate them to your local food pantry. May be a family will stop in looking for some decorations. Like the wise men, you have given a great gift to someone else. You have just spread a little more joy into their lives. Check.

Tell someone they are amazing.

If Christmas cards feel a bit too much, mail out a few amazing cards instead.

Quickly, write down a few names of people who you feel have made a difference in your life. Send them a “You are amazing” post card. You can print off the card included here or grab a card that you already have. Write a short but very personal message to each person on your list. Share how this person has made a difference in your life. It doesn’t have to be long. It just needs to be heartfelt. Put stamps on the cards and drop them into the mail. Done.

Believe me – you will make their Christmas. And your heart will be filled with joy in sharing a special message to someone you admire. The angels brought a message of great joy to the shepherds. You have just done the same.

Pick an Adventure, Not a Gift

We put so much pressure on ourselves to get just the right gift for those on our list. IF you must give someone a present, consider gifting them an experience rather than an actual present. Movie tickets. Concert tickets. A fun game, like a college ball game. Plan for an afternoon of sledding or going to the person’s favorite restaurant. I’m not talking tickets to Disney. I’m encouraging an afternoon, a day, an evening doing something special with that person you feel is important.

If you have multiple people you want to give the gift of joy, create special one-on-one adventures. Make the person feel super special. Do something just with him or her.

With all the hubbub going on around Jesus’ birth, we are told that Mary treasured the most important things in her heart. The things that gave her great joy. Create a few of these moments for your loved ones. It will be special.

Check Out all the Beautiful Christmas Decorations

Our neighborhood is already decked out with lots of Christmas decorations. Some people spend HOURS putting them up, which is great if this brings them joy.

Fill your heart with all those lights by taking an hour and driving through your town and check out all the beautiful lights. Crank up the Christmas tunes and creep slowly through the neighborhood. Ooh and aah over every little decoration.

Most importantly? Ooh and aah over the one little outside decoration at your house last. Feel all the joy of those lights and decorations and smile. Look up into the sky and celebrate the start that guided so many to baby Jesus. A star that brought joy. How amazing is this?

Bring JOY to a Person who is Missing JOY

Pick out a person or family who maybe feeling a little down in the dumps this holiday season. They are going through a difficult season and may just want to skip the holidays.

If you have Christmas cookies, put some in a plastic container and put a bow on top. If you don’t, stop at the bakery or grocery store and buy a box. Then, go to their house and visit with them. Bring JOY into their house.

Keep it light. Keep it easy. Tell a funny story so they will laugh. Give them a hug and wish them a Merry Christmas. Know, that like the shepherds, you found the real JOY of Christmas.

Too often, we feel this compulsion to make every holiday special and wonderful. Sometimes, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to try and make this happen.

What if this season, we stopped some of the craziness and simply found the JOY of the season? What if we let the little things that bring so much happiness to our hearts be the mere focus of our energy and time? You might be amazed how your heart feels on Christmas Eve: filled with JOY and ready to meet the Christ child.

For the encouragement to find JOY this Advent and Christmas, I am grateful. 

Loving God – What began as a simply birth of a baby in a humble stable has turned into so much more. Slow me down this Advent. Prepare my heart for the JOY of the season. Like the shepherds, nay I find great Joy in a few deeply meaningful interactions this Christmas season. Amen. 

Blessings –


If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.

For more blogs on JOY, check these out!

How to Create Joy by Ashley Olivine

Good Tidings of Great Joy! By Sharla Hallett

Unwrap Steadfast Joy this Christmas by Lisa Crowder


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