As the Christmas season has come and gone I’m reminded of a story a young woman shared with me while I was shopping for presents for my grand and great grandchildren. As this sweet, beautiful college student was ringing up my purchase, I asked her “Do you have all of your shopping done?” She replied, “My family has chosen not to buy each other gifts. We haven’t bought gifts in 6 years.We spend our time in fellowship and serving others.” Her words have continued to resonate in my heart.
Christmas has many times not be a day of joy; but one of sorrow for me.
Missing my parents and grandparents who have gone on to be with the Lord and now that I have moved away from my family and friends its been a test of serenity to God. But even more for several years I have grieved because I was forgotten at Christmas time especially by my children. I would give them gifts but not often were there gifts from them under the tree for me. These last few holidays and my birthday had been a struggle for me. Wondering if anyone truly loved or cared for me.
It’s something how we put more influences on gifts during these times of the year more than we do with just loving and being with each other. Last year I had my great grand daughter Trinity with me and we had such a blast together as she ripped through each package to see what Santa brought her. But for me even though there wasn’t one gift under the tree for me, I treasured every moment of every second that I had with her. She was so over joyed that Santa had eaten her cookies and milk. Trinity was an intricate part in preparing the cookies. But we had a special time of bonding and loving each other. I missed that this year.
I had to think for a moment — is the gift truly more important than the givers? I believe that Christmas giving is for the kids and the presences of my love ones is the greatest gift you can share. December 25th was filled with sorrow, but December 26th was filled with joy. The Fathers love for me overcompensated any gift I could have received. Reflecting upon His birth brought tears to my eyes and showed me just how ungrateful I was. I had already received the best gift I could ever have; and I didn’t have to give anything in return. God said He would turn my sorrow into joy and He did when He sent his only Son to be born in a manger in the city of David; He sent our Savior Christ the King. This season and every day is about the presences of Christ and the presences of those we love and cherish.
My dear readers it has taken me 40+ years to get to this place of relinquishing my insecurities to God. I find in Him there truly is joy for your sorrows and hope for tomorrow and it looks much brighter than it did on yesterday. I’ve had to release my feelings to God and begin the accept things the way they are and enjoy my life. Plus having the joy Christ provides us is more contagious than you can receive with “things.” Don’t get me wrong it is nice to receive gifts but don’t let the gifts determine your mood in life. The joy of Christ is unshakable, unmovable and unspeakable. It is an everlasting joy that no man can give nor take away.
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. ~ John 16:22
Start seeing Jesus with your spiritual eyes.
Focus on Him and allow your heart to be filled with the joy of the Lord. I had to apologize to my daughter and others for my harden heart. Once I was able to see my self through the eyes of Jesus my love for them became much more advantageous to me than the things I didn’t receive. Let go of your sorrows and allow the Lord to replace it with His joy. His joy surpasses all understanding for those of us that will truly keep our eyes on Him.
As we enter a New Year give the Lord the opportunity to fulfill every promise He has made to us. I promise you will have the best year ever. If one day can change my heart imagine what it will be like if I live each day filled with His joy and not with stuff. It’s time for us to spend more time fellowshipping and loving one-another. I wonder what it would be like if we as a nation stopped buying gifts and bought more time to be together? The media makes us want things we can’t afford, but one thing we can afford is our love to share with one-another. It’s time for me and you to turn your sorrows into joy.