Finding Joy and Peace THIS Christmas

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

Just this morning I went to fill my inner well full of joy, which was depleted finding out just last night some of my kids and grandkids can’t make it after all to our Christmas family gathering. We, like many of the rest of the world, are also struggling with various issues…family members and friends being extremely stressed, depressed or wrought with emotional, mental and physical health problems…some in crisis and many needing spiritual healing as well. And it’s our first Christmas without my dad.

But you know what? God had other plans for me…it was a rainy, cold, dreary Monday morning and I was headed to my warm and cozy church for the fourth and final part of a Bible Study on the Gospels of Advent, which I knew from attending was going to get me back in the Christmas spirit…yet it was cancelled due to the pastor/Bible study leader having an emergency family crisis himself.

So I went back out into the freezing rain to face the day, saying a prayer for my wonderful church pastor, Fr. Rich, and his family and remembered I’m grateful he is such a good spiritual guide for me, especially this time of year. I held my umbrella over and elderly woman who had none and walked a few blocks to her car until she was safe and warm inside (my car was in the opposite direction). Then I went to the post office to get Christmas stamps to finally send out my Christmas cards. The postal worker was very glum and said in a deadpan voice, “We only have the religious ones.” “Perfect, that’s what I’m look for…and Merry Christmas!” I replied cheerfully.

And then it struck me…this–these acts–filled me with the Christmas spirit! We are given multiple opportunities each day to spread Christmas cheer to others…to spread Jesus to others. We don’t always have to preach it. It’s enough to just be an example of it.

I believe we need to feed our positivity, our joy, and deny our negativity, our stress/worry/doubt, by focusing on helping others and saying no to indulging our fears and self-pity…in short, saying no to self-centeredness. The best way to remain joyful and peaceful, without resentments, stress and strife, is to say “yes” to Jesus, to BE Jesus to others, no matter what we ourselves are going through–like Mary and Joseph did on that cold, dreary December morning.

Lord Jesus, show me how to fill my inner “well” full of peace and joy THIS Christmas season, no matter what, and to then spread it to everyone I encounter on my journey through life each and every day.

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Michele Chynoweth

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