As I walk in and out of the busy malls and parking lots during this season, I am surrounded with the beautiful sights and sounds of Christmas. Like so many of You, I absolutely love this time of year. Just the sound of carols in the air -everywhere you go- singing about Joy, Hope & Peace is enough to make even the grumpiest person give up their parking spot…willingly. Lol

There’s something otherworldly about this time of year as millions around the globe take an intentional moment to pause and celebrate the birth of our Saviour & all that truly matters most in our lives: Family, Health & Loved Ones.

Yet for so many during the holidays, it’s these very areas that are causing the deepest wounds. The loss of family, the threat of health or even broken relationships in many lives, weigh so heavily as we navigate through the Advent season and days leading up to Christmas. For some, unfortunately, it is too much to bear. You see the irony is, that in a time when the word Joy is sung & said more than ever throughout the world…the absence of it has never been more overwhelming. The question must be asked: Why is Joy so elusive?

I must admit, that for the first time ever, this Christmas season has been a difficult one for me -filled with terminally ill loved ones, ageing family members & personal struggles. It has given me a clearer perspective on why the holidays can be devastatingly tough for so many. I feel it was no coincidence that Melinda asked me to write this blog on Joy because it has been my anchor.

Did you know that’s what Joy is? If Happiness is a 60 foot luxury yacht sailing the Caribbean seas, then Joy is the anchor that holds fast in the treacherous waves of a storm. Joy is an anchor. Happiness is fleeting. Joy goes deeper and is not moved by outside circumstances. Happiness can change with a phone call. Joy is an inside job.

I think for too long, we’ve been confusing joy with happiness.

I love Kay Warren’s definition of Joy in her “Choosing Joy” devotional:

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all of the details of our lives, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right…and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”

This Christmas season, I encourage you to find true Joy that comes from knowing the One who was born in a manger; the One who came to take on the sins of the world for our sake. Jesus is the giver of long lasting, anchored Joy…and the bible says that it is our strength. May the God of Joy be with You and your loved ones this Advent season…and forever more. AMEN