She worked full-time and cooked a hot meal for our family of six every evening. She expected me and my sister to pick up the house every day after school and do the dishes immediately after dinner, no questions asked.
On Saturday mornings, Mom cracked the whip and we did our household chores. Every Sunday she served us a home-cooked roast beef dinner with the best gravy you ever tasted! On Sunday afternoons, she did the laundry.
She was all business — except for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Something happened to Mom when Christmas came around. Those festive times revealed her true nature.
She possessed a childlike wonder of all the beauty God created. Her countenance changed, and we were delightfully surprised by her joy. She played Christmas albums, decorated the house, baked and shopped, stashing away treasures for her family.
Mom would find ways to give so that those less fortunate would have a meal or a gift under the tree. Everything at home changed when Mom found her joy.
Of all the gifts I’ve ever received from my mom, joy was my favorite. To this day, Thanksgiving and Christmas are magical to me. It’s amazing how a little joy can transform our lives and the lives of those around us.
I believe God designed us to be full of joy. Just like my mom, it is in our nature. The stresses and responsibilities of life can sometimes be joy-stealers, but I still believe our joy is buried somewhere within.
The Bible has a great deal to say about joy. Jesus prayed that we would have the full measure of His joy within us (John 17:13). Nehemiah wrote that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). In John 15, Jesus said that if we remain in His love and obey His commands, His joy will be in us and our joy will be complete.
So this Christmas, my prayer is that you will receive the “good news of great joy” that God sent into the world for ALL people.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch oveer their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and they were terrified. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ ” — Luke 2:8-12
Joy to the world, the Lord has come!