Thursday, November 30, 2017

Contagious Joy

Year 5-Day 334: Today...I am grateful choosing joy is contagious. 

This time of year handwashing becomes extra important as winter bugs begin. Just maintaining good habits can help fight the battle to stay well. 

What about that battle to not succumb to the holiday blues? For many it comes from focusing on what they cannot change instead of embracing the precious in the present... not the presents. 

What can we pass along today? Making every effort to choose joy. 

We are near the end of the fifth year of daily gratitude, and of this one truth I am most certain. Gratitude fuels joy. Thankfulness doesn't change God... it touches His heart and may move his hand... but it does not change Him. Gratitude changes us from the inside out. 

Tomorrow is December 1st. Once again, I would challenge anyone dreading the fullness of the season to combat the stress with intentional thanksgiving. How quickly we shift from gratitude to consumerism. Intentional gratitude is an antidote for much of what bogs us down in this busy time ahead. 

Make time to be kind. Tiny unexpected gifts of time to those who are lonely. Pay for the person behind you at McDonald's. Greet delivery drivers or the mailman with a hot cocoa in a disposable cup. Help an older person with Christmas decorations. Clear another's driveway. (Thanks Jim and Chad for the many times you have made our days easier sweeter with your plows... we are grateful) Let the person with a few items go ahead of you in the grocery line... or better yet... the one with fussy children and a cartful of needed items. 

To choose joy... we must slow down and observe all that we have to be thankful for when Thanksgiving is a memory and a full calendar threatens our peace of mind. Make time to spend time focusing on The One who is the source of our joy. When we enter his gates with grateful hearts, strength and joy are there waiting. 

"The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! 
Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling." -1 Chronicles 16:26-27 (NLT)

The holidays are harder for some than others. Some face illness or loss this season for the first time. Others are seasoned veterans of "the hard stuff" but it is still hard. I love this verse that Paul penned in letter to the church at Corinth:

"Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything." -2 Corinthians 2:10 

What spiritual riches can we gift to others in this advent season? Look to the children. Jesus said we must become like them. Look at the manger this season with new eyes and childlike faith. Embrace the wonder. The joy is not in the price of the gift, but the fullness of the love in the heart of the giver. 

"You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”-Acts 20:35a

We can choose joy.

Today...I am grateful choosing joy is contagious. 

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