The third week of Advent is the week of joy. But, for many, the holidays bring up many feelings, but joy is not one of them. Stress, financial pressure, hurry, strained family relationships, and unmet expectations can choke the joy right out of us. However, joy is a key element in the birth of Christ.
Remember when the angel showed up startling the shepherds? The angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people” (Luke 2:10). Jesus came to bring us joy!
So why do we, at times, have trouble accessing that joy? Ah, there are many reasons, but here are just a few. We allow stress to get the best of us, we spend too much time on screens (which has been known to cause greater anxiety, depression, and loneliness), and we are so consumed with buying the perfect gift that we have crowded out time to be with the Perfect Gift.
So, amidst all the hurry and hassle, how do we access the joy God intended for us to experience?
3 Simple Ways to Find Joy This Advent Season
Spend Quality Time with Your Loved Ones. Instead of spending long hours on social media or in front of the T.V., get out and be with your people. Joy is largely relational in nature. It’s tied to how connected you feel to God and how connected you feel to others. In light of that, be intentional about spending time reading God’s word daily, praising Him, and in prayer. In addition, take a friend to lunch, meet a friend for coffee, play a game with your spouse or kids, do a craft, or decorate cookies with your kids or grandkids. The point is to do something that doesn’t involve screens, but allows you to have a deep connection with God and people.
Sing! Singing has been proven to release endorphins, which are great for your emotional well-being. So go ahead and bust out some tunes. Turn on your worship music or Christmas music and start singing. Worship the Lord with your voice. It doesn’t matter if you can’t carry a tune, God hears in perfect pitch. You were designed to sing. This is why there are so many verses in scripture on singing. The Psalmist instructs us, “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy” (Psalm 5:11). In another Psalm he exuberantly proclaims, “I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:2).
Savor the Memories. Even in the mess, when sprinkles are all over the house or Christmas balls shatter or wrapping paper lays crumpled, pause. Breathe. Savor the memory. Take a photo and laugh at how it all goes awry sometimes. It’s okay. The first Christmas certainly wasn’t neat and tidy. Mary gave birth in a dirty stable and had unexpected guests. I’m sure that was not how she imagined giving birth to the Savior. Yet, she treasured the experience in her heart. Don’t get so caught up in the doing that you miss the moments to treasure what’s happening. If that means making a more simple dinner, do so. If that means everyone stays in their jammies all day, that’s great! If that means the photos don’t quite turn out so perfectly, it’s fine. Just enjoy and savor.
Friend, this Advent season, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to increase our joy so that it flows out of us to others. Seek to spend quality time with the Lord and your loved ones, sing, and savor the memories. May your hearts be filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord!
This week on The Connected Mom Podcast, we’re looking at 365 ways to love your child with guest, Julie Lavender. Be sure to tune in and download so that you’ll have lots of ideas for how to really show your kids you love them!