Joy Hacks for This Unprecedented Holiday Season

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It’s Thanksgiving week and it’s possible that you have had to postpone plans and celebrations. Looking forward to Christmas, I know all are wondering, “Will we be able to gather?”  

In the midst of restrictions and cancellations due to COVID, how do we keep joy alive in our hearts? After all, according to the book of Proverbs, joy is one of the best medicines for our souls: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV).

In my own life, I’ve been praying about this quite a bit. I love traditions. I love the beautiful celebrations of both Thanksgiving and Christmas and yet, this year it will be different. As I’ve spent time with the Lord and taken my joy temperature, I’ve decided I need to make a commitment to invest in filling my joy tank even if this Holiday Season doesn’t look like normal.  

How do you fill your joy tank in the midst of this wonky season?  Here are a few ideas that will help:

Joy Hacks for This Season 

Saturate Your Mind with Scripture. Choose a few scriptures that will be your mantra during the Holidays. Less is often more – so don’t choose long scriptures necessarily. Instead, perhaps choose 3 scriptures that will remind you of the joy found in Advent. Here are 3 I will be attentive to during this season:

With God nothing is impossible! (Luke 1:37).When Mary asked the angel how she could possibly be pregnant when she was still a virgin, the angel reminded Mary that nothing is impossible with God. When facing lots of challenges, we need the reminder that with God nothing is impossible. 

Christ in you, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27).Mary’s womb carried the living Christ. What God did for Mary, He offers to you and me.  Your soul can become the sanctuary of the living Christ. Once the Holy Spirit takes up residence, you are never alone. You may feel isolated this Christmas because of health restrictions, but you aren’t alone. The living presence of Jesus Christ dwells within you in the person of the Holy Spirit. 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us (I John 4:16).  Though life and circumstances may change, we can rely on, rest in, and relax with the love God has for us. It will never change nor diminish. 

Celebrate Christ Every Day.  Celebrations were God’s idea. Throughout the scripture you see God inviting His people to celebrate and remember. In both big and small ways, find a way to celebrate every day. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life” (Philippians 4:4 The Passion Translation). Steve and I put up our Christmas tree earlier this week, we made a fire outside one night in our fire pit, we went for a hike in the forest and thanked God for the beauty of nature. Remind yourself every day that you have a reason to celebrate. His name is Jesus. 

Cherish Your Relationships. Science has proven that one of the greatest keys to joy is the strength of your relationships. In these days of social distancing and quarantining, go out of your way to affirm the people you love. Send cards and little gifts. Pick up the phone and call. Create the space to listen.  Make it your goal to affirm someone every day. Find what’s admirable and affirm! (Philippians 4:8). 

Friend, be intentional to cultivate your joy during this season. If you saturate your mind with scripture, celebrate every day, and cherish your relationships, I think you’ll find that your joy grows and spills over to others. 

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