Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finding Joy

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the mad holiday rush. In years past I’ve found myself worn out and joy-starved by December 26. I felt like Christmas was careening out of control, but I finally grew tired of letting it run me down. This year I took back the holiday cheer and refused to let anything steal my joy.

Christmas has always been a wonderful time of year for me, but being part of a blended family can make things a little hectic during the holidays. Much like the movie Four Christmases, my husband and I have spent most of our lives bouncing back and forth between multiple families and houses.

We typically take a week off, drive more than 850 miles round trip and are more tired when we return home than when we left, but this year I wasn’t focused on the drudgeries of travel. Instead, I prayed to see the amusement in unforeseen situations and looked forward to seeing family and friends.

In an effort to prevent any major disasters, we triple checked the packing list, loaded the car and headed out. An hour and a half into our journey, we stopped to eat lunch. When my husband reached for his wallet to pay, he realized he’d left it on the dresser. We laughed and drove back home, adding three hours to what would have been a five-hour trip.

A year ago that hiccup would have been a big deal to both of us, but we had a new attitude this year. Our pastor recently ministered on focus and the things we complain about. He basically told us to ask ourselves one question, …one hundred years from now, will it really matter? That question has changed the way I view and respond to each situation I face.

By the end of the weeklong adventure I was utterly happy. I hugged more relatives, kissed on my precious nephew, spent time with my beautiful nieces and had wonderful conversations with everyone. No, things weren’t always perfect and didn’t go exactly as planned, but that didn’t matter.

Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to him a new song…and shout for joy (NIV).” I truly believe our view of a situation will either magnify it for the good or the bad. This Christmas I chose to sing a new song, a song of joy. Instead of getting weighed down by all the negatives, I experienced a whirlwind of gladness that left me feeling complete.