Last year I read a book of Advent devotions called Lean Towards The Light This Advent and Christmas and the devotion that stayed with me more than any other was by a woman named Christine Sine who said that her personal theme for Advent that year was to “choose joy.” She said, “Our greatest joy comes when we reframe our situation more positively, experience gratitude and choose to be kind and generous.”
My mother loved Christmas. Her house was always beautifully decorated. She loved shopping. And she would bake the most wonderful things – all different kinds of cookies and candies and fudge. She always seemed to make Christmas seem just perfect. And it really seemed to bring her joy – she loved all of the things she did to prepare for Christmas and that love shone through in everything she did.
I think for years I tried to recreate the perfect Christmas that my mom always had. But instead of feeling joyful it just stressed me out! I don’t have my mother’s talent for decorating or baking – and the things I did were never as good as hers.
But then I realized that the most important thing my mom brought to her Christmas preparations wasn’t the how beautiful everything looked and how delicious everything tasted – although that was wonderful – but the important thing was the love and joy she put into everything she did.
Do your Christmas preparations bring you joy or do they stress you out? If they don’t bring you joy, what can you do to change that? How can you bring a sense of joy, gratitude, kindness and generosity to the things you do this season – whether it’s decorating or baking or caroling?
Maybe it’s letting go of the things that don’t bring you joy. Or maybe it’s just changing your attitude – choosing to find joy in your preparations. Or maybe it means finding what brings you joy and sharing that with others. When we choose joy, we can find ourselves filled with the true spirit of the season.