Are you full of joy this Christmas, or are you struggling to be joyful about anything? For some this coming week will bring family and friends together in great celebration. For others, it may seem terribly long and lonely. Let’s be honest; some days are extremely difficult to be joyful. Those are the days I must intentionally find my joy in Jesus. He gives strength to get through the darkest times, and for that, as the psalmist writes, my heart is filled with joy,
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7 NLT
Christmas is less than a week away, no matter what your circumstances, look for the joy of Jesus. In Luke 2, the angel brought the good news of great joy.
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 NLT
I love family gatherings where stories of days-gone-by are swapped. You know, the ones that siblings spill each others’ shenanigans; or the “when I was your age…” tales. These stories help the generations connect with one another.
I came across a quote the other day. It said, “Every day the chairs would meet and share stories.” This made me wonder, “If my two old rockers could talk, what stories would they tell?”
Oh! And what about the old church pew?
I’m sure it would have stories…
of the church elders, heads bent, petitioning God
of the widow who sobbed quietly as Preacher read the eulogy
of the new believer waiting to be called forward for baptism
of the dad who sat soberly as his daughter said her “I Dos”
of the littlest angel who wiggled and squirmed until time to suddenly appear to the shepherds in the Christmas play
Christmas is a great time for sharing stories. In a couple days we will gather four generations together. I wonder if my dad will tell about the Christmas when he got an air rifle, or if my Mom will tell about Grandpa always reading the Christmas Story from Luke 2?
As your family gathers for the holidays, linger at the dinner table for some story telling. To get started, you might ask, “What is your best childhood Christmas memory?” That’s all it usually takes and other stories will spin off there. The results usually will not disappoint. End your dinner with some laughter, learning something from others and observing how the generations connect through story telling.
“Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9