I don’t know what your specific circumstances are, and whether this feels like a joyous time of year to you or not. I do know that many, many different circumstances can threaten to steal our joy – not just during the holidays, but every single day of the year. A holiday that is supposed to be joyous can make the lack of joy in our hearts stand out even more.
Our human tendency is to want to blame other people or our circumstances for our lack of joy. Our singleness or childlessness, perhaps. A wayward child. A disgruntled family member. Our finances. The loss of a loved one. Having to work on Christmas. Not being near family. Our concern for someone dear to us. The state of our world. Our own doubts and fears.
But that’s why Christ came! He came to a hopeless world and to hopeless souls like you and me. He came because He knew our lives and world aren’t perfect, and He came to give us hope – a close relationship through Him to our Heavenly Father during our earthly life, and an eternity with Him ever after. He came to give this life that is full of so much pain and drudgery, purpose and meaning.
Jesus told His disciples that “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.” We’ve all experienced that. Satan will use whatever he can to steal, kill and destroy our relationships, our sense of purpose, and most of all, our joy. But there is hope! Jesus said that He came “so that [we] may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10)!
While that abundant life may seem elusive at times, it truly is just at our finger tips. Receiving it is so simple, but oh so very difficult at times. The simple part is just opening up our clenched fists to Him so we can receive it. The difficult part is needing to lay down our resentment, our hurts, our anger, our pride, our insistence on having our own way. It means being open to what He wants to give us. It may be different than what we think we want, but I can promise you without any hesitation, that what He has for us will meet our deepest desires in ways we could not have imagined!
Don’t be afraid to open up to someone close to you if your joy is lacking. Share the pain and the hurt and the sadness with someone you can trust to not only listen, but to help you find joy again in Jesus. Most of all, in the quietness of your own time alone with Him, open up your heart to receive the joy He wants so much to give you! He loves you more than you can imagine!