Joy is coming! Earth is ready to receive her King. All we have to do is prepare Him room in our hearts. I don’t know about you, but for me, this time of the year leaves little room for things of the heart. Christmas has a way of sucking the life right out of you.
Along with the hope, the peace and the joy.
There never seems to be enough time to do all the things that need to be done. The baking. The shopping. Making time for friends. Making time for family (though the busyness of the season does make for a handy excuse for some of us where family is concerned). Making time for rest. Why is it that when I need rest the most, insomnia decides to become my closest friend? I’m really not very good company at 3:00am!
I know for me, I need to be more intentional in looking for joy. It’s entirely too easy to get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle. The frustration. The grumpiness. The impatience. Have I ever told you that I’m the ‘half-empty glass’ girl? This time of the year really plays to that part of my personality. I don’t like people. I don’t like traffic. I don’t like shopping. I don’t like not sleeping. I don’t like…well, I think you get my point!
I was in the drive through lane of Wendy’s the other night waiting to get to the first window to pay for my order. The gentleman taking our money was having an animated conversation with whoever was in the car ahead of me. Complete with laughing and leaning out the window and touching! I’ve never been big on the touching thing – especially with people I don’t really know. I’ve always hated the ‘shake the hand of the person next to you and welcome them’ part of every church service I’ve ever been in. Whatever happened to respecting a person’s personal space? I was dreading my turn at the window. I wasn’t in the mood to chit-chat and be pleasant. I just wanted to get my order and get home. I pulled up and with a big smile on his face he asked me how I was. For crying out loud, can you just take my money?! I said I was ok. He had the nerve to look me right in the eye and say, “Really, just ok?” I mumbled something to the effect of I think so and I don’t know how, but by the end of our brief conversation, he had me agreeing to let him come wrap my Christmas presents and having coffee! We were laughing. I was laughing. I let my guard down and he drew me into the joy of the moment. I drove away with a smile on my face.
I think that’s the key to holding on to the joy of the season. Taking the big picture and breaking it down into small, manageable moments. Taking the time to really connect with someone. The cashier at Walmart, the bank teller, they guy in the fast food window. Look them in the eye, smile at them. No, really smile at them and wish them Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever you are comfortable saying. Simply live in the particular moment and make the best of it. It really doesn’t take much. You may just make someone’s day. It may even be your own!
Joy came after all, in the simplest of ways. In the birth of a baby.