As the holidays approach, stress usually brews. The endless parties to attend, the school programs and concerts, presents to buy and wrap, dwindling checkbook register figures, traffic, baking, and figuring out family plans. The missing ingredient is often the joy of Christmas.

What comes to mind is the drama I wrote a few years back about the dysfunctional Funk family trying to get through the holidays. The eldest daughter named Joy, was anything but joyful yet she tried to make everything perfect to ensure there would be joy … but everything fell apart. Isn’t that how we operate sometimes? We strive to have things in order or find a resolution to a problem to ensure we will have peace, joy, and happiness. Yet we’re losing the battle. If only life was so cut, dry, and simple.

I find that this journey in life isn’t about resolutions to problems, but in finding the joy, peace, and happiness in our lives that God offers regardless of our situation. That is far easier said than done, because life gets messy sometimes.

So how do we find the joy this holiday season regardless of our circumstances?

  1. Keep Perspective: Pick up God’s point of view rather than our own. That requires we first step back from the emotions of a situation and allow ourselves to view it from a wider angle. Then we can look to see what God wants us to learn.
  2. Keep Breathing: We may have overscheduled ourselves and it can’t be changed now, but we can make a conscious choice to take a few minutes out for ourselves to breathe and relax. It helps us to do #1 above. Take a longer shower in the morning and just relax in those extra minutes or unwind from your day by reading before you go to bed. Understand we need to chill out each day before we can tackle the next day with calm and perspective.
  3. Remember the Reason: Remember what Christmas is about. It’s not about presents, parties, programs, full schedules, finances, or even family gatherings. Christmas is about remembering the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ! It’s the time we celebrate His birth knowing He came to earth to live and die just so we could have life everlasting with Him. What a gift!

So go ahead and receive the joy, peace, and happiness that comes from this greatest gift of Jesus Christ. It’s not dependent on your circumstances and isn’t something you have to add to your bursting schedule. Celebrate the JOY this Christmas.