It’s Christmas season, a time of year when we focus on joy, yet how do we overcome those days and weeks when joy seems so distant?
Yesterday was one of those days for me, well, in all honesty, this entire week has been filled with days like this. I’ve been under a tremendous amount of stress this week in addition to not getting sufficient sleep. Perhaps the reality of being on break from work versus what I envisioned being on break would feel like has added to my shortness of temper and displeasure. I thought I would be getting some much needed rest, and have some time to work on some research and writing, yet, none of that has come to pass. I’ve been on the go cleaning house, doing laundry, running errands, and taking care of the needs of others. Yesterday morning I reached an emotional tipping point that resulted in tears, and not those dainty ones, but the ones that flow so violently that you have to take off your glasses, your face develops red blotches, and your nose starts running; it’s not a pretty sight. In addition to the normal frustrations, my sons have been aggravating each other more than normal, and then Bob’s aid did not show up for the third day this week, I had reached my emotional limit.
I was still irritated when I went to pick up my son from school yesterday, so I spent the drive time asking God for a word, a word to help me embrace joy, and not focus on my own feelings of being unappreciated and overlooked. Most of the time, I believe that I do really well with handling being my husband’s caretaker, but yesterday it got the best of me. I knew I needed to seek God, to be reminded that the joy of the Lord was available to me. Here’s what God brought to my mind:
“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:8-11 NASB).
Here were shepherds working at night, an ordinary day to be sure, but it became extraordinary when the angel came to announce the birth of Jesus, the Lord; he is the one who brings with him “great joy” for all people. I pondered this and realized that I do not have to wait around for an angel to announce the arrival of great joy to my life, I have the ability through Jesus Christ to access it every hour, every minute of my day. Great joy has arrived, are we seeking it? Have we gone to God’s throne of grace and fixed our eyes upon Jesus? After the shepherds went to Bethlehem they returned “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20). Great joy is to be found when we look for Jesus, and when we do, the result will be joy in us, joy that causes us to glorify and praise God. Just has an ordinary day became extraordinary for the shepherds tending their flock, every day can be extraordinary for us when we make haste to see Jesus as the shepherds did.