Choose to Live in Joy

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“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” ~Joseph Campbell

Life isn’t always kind and definitely not always fair, it also has a way of tossing everything at you at once. With Christmas literally just around the corner, the season brings new challenges, the challenge of trying to keep everyone happy and in good cheer…..the challenge of buying those perfect gifts for everyone on your Christmas list. For the past few years I’ve scaled back on Christmas, the pandemic helped a little with that, but this year I’ve scaled back even more. I’ve taken the commercial out of the season by choosing my gifts wisely, buying only what’s needed and nothing extra, it’s not about budgeting, it’s about appreciating the season without getting lost in all the commercialism.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love the joy that Christmas brings, and I still revel in the decorations, I revel in the feeling of peace, joy, and hope the season brings with it. 

You don’t have to be a Christain to enjoy the season, however, believing in something greater than yourself does make this time of the year a bit more special. For me, in addition to celebrating birth of Jesus, it’s the gentleness of the season that makes me more reflective, the kindness of the season in all its glory makes Christmas special no matter where I am in the world. My breath still catches mid-way when I think about Christmases past, the time well spent with family back home, waking up to the excitement of everyone racing to the tree to open their presents, the planning, and execution of making dinner for our huge family, and anyone who made it to the dinner table to spend the holidays with us. In those reflections, I feel even more gratitude that distance has diminished our closeness. Even beyond that, I’m grateful to have my little family here enjoying the traditions that were created by that huge family back home. I’ve come to realize that it’s so easy to get lost in all the busyness of the season and find all the faults when things don’t go as planned. But when life gives me a thousand reasons to moan, I find a thousand more to be thankful for, not only at Christmas but all through the year because those circumstances, the good and the bad, have taught me to live in joy!

Living in joy means, amidst the busyness of the season, you don’t lose yourself in the hustle and bustle. You lean to Inhale, exhale, reflect and enjoy each day as it comes.  I know that this time of year, for whatever reason, some folk can find it so hard to cope. If you find yourself in that category, you’re under no obligation to be merry and bright, but you are obligated to self-appreciation, self-love, and most of all self-care. I love ‘A Christmas Carol’ because while folks focused on Scrooge’s miserable attitude, no one focuses on what made him that way, and no one takes note of the life that brought him to the point that made him seem beyond redemption. When I look back on my past two years, this year, in particular, there were many reasons for me to be a Scrooge.  Then I remind myself that I am not my circumstance(s), those circumstances do not define me, and there are choices in life. I can choose to saturate myself in the good, the bad and the ugly or I can simply enjoy the privileges of life. The privilege of getting out of bed in the morning, the privilege of spending time with people I love, and of course the privilege of enjoying Christmas with my family. Things may not always turn out the way we hoped, but that doesn’t mean we should lose hope. 

Hope is the one thing that keeps me going, it’s the thing that keeps my Faith going. So it doesn’t matter how hard life is for your right now, believe me, when I say, you’re strong enough!  Just believe in yourself and in your ability to climb whatever mountain that may have risen up before you. Tis’ the season of miracles, let your Faith be greater than that mountain and never lose hope.


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