I had one of the best Christmases that I can remember, and it wasn’t perfect. Yet it was joyful and complete and fulfilling. I can remember so many years when Christmas was a nightmare and drudgery and at times so very sad. I can remember in the past 9 years how little I looked forward to Christmas and how I feared what would happen. So, what was different about this Christmas and why could I not see the joy in Christmas as a Christian for so many years?
I have challenged myself with this question without knowing the answer. Let’s go through the answer together. As a Christian, the joy of Christmas is the remembering of the birth of a savior. It is the hope of salvation and the joy of our reward. Yet as Christians, we are burdened with so many issues around Christmas. It starts with expectations from family and ends with gift giving and receiving. It is peppered with decorating and entertaining.
It is no wonder that our glorious remembrance of Jesus is clouded with commitments and distractions. For me, it was horrible issues that crept up solely around Christmas concerning family expectations from a blended family. It could not be resolved and was never pretty and unfortunately, I could not get above it to the joy that was so apparent but so distant. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
This year, I refused to allow any of the distractions to play into my joy and I experienced a warm, loving Christmas with extended family and my wife. Unfortunately, my children were not on the same page, but that did not dampen my celebration. I enjoyed Christmas so thoroughly that I want it to last and now I look forward to New Years Eve. What changed?
I prayed a lot this year and last. I can say that God answered so many of my prayers and I can only attribute my current joy to the grace God has granted me. Sounds so simple, but is all dependent on trusting the Lord even though He may make you wait a bit. It is in His perfect timing and believe me this past two years has proved that over and over. I can honestly say that this year I had perfect peace in Him. My desert now looks like a garden thanks to the grace of God. Prayer…how simple but all is dependent on trusting God. He may give you a whole lot of patience to strengthen you, but when He finally delivers, your joy will be above your expectations.
I can say that is my experience. Can you trust the Lord with your negative Christmas stories? Can you believe that He only wants the best for you as well? As Charles Spurgeon aptly says for the beginning of a New Year:
We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord. Man ate angles’ food of old, and why not now? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.