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When I was a youngster, some of the most joyous times were during the holiday season. My Dad shared stories from his childhood and told us kids Bible stories such as the story of David and Goliath as well as the birth of Jesus. He would end his stories telling us that we could have happy and abundant lives if we put our trust in the Lord.

My siblings and I would also help our Momma prepare food to deliver to people in and around Waldo that needed help making their holiday magic happen. Seeing the joyous look on people’s faces as we delivered Mother’s wonderful homemade creations gave us all great joy.

With Christmas time upon us, I think we all want to feel the Christmas joy we felt as children. Yet, with all that is going on in in our lives and in the world around us, having a JOYOUS feeling can be challenging. Indeed, there is a lot of conflict in the news that can steal our joy. Political divisions, concerns about finances and even the college football championship playoff system can cause consternation. Also, people have conflicting views simply about how we and others should live their lives. This could include family members and friends, all who are well-meaning. All of their judgments are derived from the experiences of their own life and what seems normal for them.

I know judgments can steal my joy if I let it. My quest is to keep my mind focused on one thing: we’ve all had different experiences in our lives, and therefore have differing points of view. These experiences define who we are at a given moment. Because we continue to live and have experiences, our perspectives will be influenced, and, yes, we may even alter our position on a given subject matter. Life is about evolving; we learn, are enlightened, and thus, we grow.

Despite our differences, I believe we all want the same thing - a life filled with JOY. Over the years, I have read many books and articles, as well as listened to the words of learned people, about how to have a wonderful life and the common theme is that the more JOY we have in our life, the better life is. And I truly believe that! The good news is, we each get to decide how much JOY we have because joy is something that comes from within our inner being; it comes from the depths of our soul.

I know, for me, my life is much more joyous when I accept myself as a child of God and listen to that inner voice that resonates from my soul, which is God guiding me. As I listen, I accept that I should live a life full of joy. As I do, I know that everything that has happened, and that will happen, is for my better good! Indeed, I have a choice to accept things with a spirit of happiness, with light heartiness, with thankfulness or not.

As written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In all things be thankful…..and, all things work for our good.” Embracing that thought and belief, I know that each experience helps guide me to the place of JOY.

I wish you much JOY this Christmas Holiday Season!


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