Create a Christmas Full of Purpose: Joy to the World
Struggling to create an intentional Christmas? You can have a Christmas season filled with the purpose of Joy! Hint: it’s not in a cozy home!
The table has been cleared, the leftovers are likely about gone, Christmas trees have gone up, and maybe a few gifts have started appearing underneath from last week’s sales. The stockings are lined up on the mantel and family plans are being made for the next holiday gathering.
The countdown is on: 27 days until Christmas.
27 days to celebrate the most beautiful, the most wonderful time of year.
27 days to find purpose in Christmas.
I love that line from the old movie, “Miracle on 34th Street”: “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.”
And it is so true! I love the Christmas season for many reasons, but one reason is that it just seems that the world, in general, is in a better mood. A better frame of mind.
(Never mind a few Scrooges in the bunch. There’s always a few! 😉)
Over the past couple of years, there has been a slow change in my frame of mind for Christmas. I LOVE the lights, the parties, the concerts, the gatherings, all the events and flurry of activity. But I am finding that even more, I love the quiet moments where I take a minute to discipline myself to slow my activity, still my mind, and bow my heart.
In the words of Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite writers, “I want a Christmas that whispers Jesus.”
If you stop and think back to the time in history when Jesus was born, it was pretty somber. There was a lot of turmoil and strife. There was friction between the people and the king. There was frustration over finances.
The flurry of people in Bethlehem wasn’t because all the extra people wanted to be there.
And while the manger scene is always depicted in glowing light with cute animals, clean hay, and calm surroundings, I just can’t help but think it felt anything but glowing, clean, or calm to Mary, or Joseph for that matter.
Joyful? Most certainly. Not joyful because their surroundings gave them all the cozy vibes, but joyful because of Who was there.
Not joyful because they were comfortable, but joyful because the One who is Love had arrived.
Definitely not joyful because they were surrounded by people who showed them grace, but joyful because the Person who created grace, Emmanuel, let out His first infant cry on that holy night.
These 27 days may not be filled with soft, cozy vibes (though I make every effort to create that for my family!). You may not experience 27 days of peace and comfort. There may not be abundant grace shown to you (remember those few Scrooges?).
But it can be a joyful 27 days.
For me, I know my 27 days are going to be busy. No matter how far ahead I work, how well I plan, how hard I try to carve out calm and peaceful moments, it’s just going to be plain busy.
Music performances, school programs, birthdays, parties, shopping, wrapping, more planning, more events…it all stacks up. Even all the good stuff gets overwhelming.
That’s not to mention the maybe not-so-good things you’re dealing with too. Stress, grief, worry, fear, complicated circumstances.
But it doesn’t have to define your Christmas. Your purpose can be much greater.
Even in a crowded store or standstill traffic, purpose to still your mind. When you finally arrive home at the end of a crazy day, slow your activity.
(Admittedly, this is a tough one for me. We could have a whole blog post about setting boundaries for your family in the midst of a busy season, but I’ll condense it to this: You have the ability to say no and choose what will bring the purpose of joy and calm to your family.)
In the middle of getting from one party to the next, take a second to bow your heart and refresh your joy.
You can find joy no matter the circumstances surrounding these 27 days.
“People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.” -Isaiah 26:3, MSG
“Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.”
Joy to the World was first published in 1719 by Isaac Watts. It was never intended to be a Christmas carol, but rather part of his Psalms of David Imitated, which was a collection of songs written from paraphrases of many Psalms. Joy to the World is actually inspired by the last part of Psalm 98.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”
Even it if it feels like just a whisper on some days, don’t let everything around you consume your joy.
Make it a Christmas with a purpose; the purpose is joy.