HOPE. PEACE. JOY. LOVE.
Wednesday, December 16
Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. - Romans 12:9-13
As I first brainstormed ideas for this devotional, I was inspired by the word joy. There were many positive messages I thought about sharing, but when it came time to type them out, I had negative thoughts and judgments instead. That's how the holidays start out, don't they? We have high expectations and a million ideas from Pinterest on how to make new and better memories, but the closer we get to Christmas, things seems to get more hurried and more frazzled. Patience is the first thing to go. We wind up in the slowest line at the store, or the slowest moving lane on the road, or our kids are moving like snails to get ready for school or church. It is important to have even more patience with ourselves and others heading into the holidays. After all, we are patiently waiting for Jesus to come, and God seems to have infinite patience with our misguided attempt to cultivate the holiday spirit.
Over-scheduling is a sure way to remove all joy from Christmas. The best way to add joy to our holiday season is to say no. There might be something we really want to do that we should say yes to, because we will bring our enthusiasm to the situation. Saying yes to something out of perceived obligation or guilt will bring negative energy and resentment. I would recommend a book we studied in the Young Marrieds group, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Drs. Townsend and Cloud.
Even Jesus said no to requests, so he could take breaks and be by himself. Try it. Take time out from the busyness and the endless holiday to-do list by setting three to five priorities. My well-being, my husband and children, and my relationship with God are my top priorities. Say yes to things that add joy to these priorities. Say no to the things that will create unnecessary stress or drama. Patience is in short supply when we try to squeeze in one more errand or one more activity. If it does not add joy, say no.
Holy God, give us your wisdom to say no when we need to say no, and yes when we need to say yes. In Christ name, Amen