HOPE. PEACE. JOY. LOVE.
Wednesday, December 23
Laura Phelan, a member of RPC since 2005
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." - Luke 2:10
I'm making my list and I'm checking it twice - or three times, or maybe ten. Okay, I'll be honest. Religiously. As Christmas draws closer, I often find myself making more and more lists. There's the card list, the baking list, the grocery list, and of course, the gift list.
With so much emphasis on my lists, I often struggle to find time for what should permeate the Christmas season - joy. The celebration of Jesus' birth begins the same as most do - with pure joy. As a mother, I will always treasure the memories of my husband's face, of our girls' trusting eyes as they came into this great big world. Exactly a week before Christmas, we celebrate our Annie's birthday. Since her birth, I see Mary and Joseph's part of the nativity story in a whole new way. What joy they must have felt when they first saw their son! But then I remember that Mary was holding her savior, God in the flesh. Suddenly her joy is exponential. And what's more, it's shared. Her joy becomes our joy.
Yes, to me, Christmas is joy. Or it should be. Each year I promise I'm going to take it all in, experience the joy. But then my focus goes back to those lists. Recently, a friend of mine who makes inspirational gifts shared with me a coffee mug with two simple words written on it: Choose Joy. I was genuinely moved. I felt like God was speaking to me. Yes, there are moments when joy comes to find me. And those moments are spectacular. But they aren't the norm. The norm is the list. It's everyday life. It's work, chores, parenting, and so much more. In order to find joy, we must choose joy.
This Christmas, I'm choosing joy. In the midst of the busy and the crazy, I want to choose joy. How? I'll start simple - by adding it to the top of my list. Literally, I'm going to write it at the top of every list. My hope is, when I check off each card sent, each project done, each gift sent, I'll be reminded of what's most important: a baby, in a manger, God incarnate, joy to the world.
Holy Father, help me to choose joy in the midst of this season so that I may share with others the gift of your son Jesus. Amen