I love everything about Christmas. The decorations, the parades, the food, the music... I'm a sucker for all of it. In fact, I sing "Silent Night" year-round to my little ones at night, I love it so much.
This is my favorite holiday.
This year, my children are at great ages - Hannah is one and a half and Micah is 3 years old - when everything starts to come alive! And sometimes, quite literally. Like the motion-sensor snowman in our bathroom that says funny things upon entrance, "Are you doing okay? You're looking a little flushed! Get it, flushed?! Hahaha!" and "If you're looking for some paper to wrap presents with, I have plenty in here!" Hannah enjoys those things as long as she's still standing 10 feet away.
And while their little minds are growing in wonder and excitement over the little things each day, I can't help but feel it too! Being around them makes me feel like a child at Christmas all over again.
Because, joy is contagious. Their joy is contagious.
I believe with all my heart that we have the opportunity to be contagious with our joy this holiday season. More than any other time of the year, people are looking for hope, peace, love and joy. They want to believe in the Jesus of the Christmas story. Because without Jesus, there would be no, "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," or "O Holy Night." Sure, you still have the jolly, ole Saint Nicholas - but even his joy wears off as soon as Christmas ends.
The joy that Jesus brings lasts the whole year through.
And, let me tell you, that's a reason to celebrate right there! One month-ish of festivities doesn't seem like a big enough "thank you party" for Jesus. But hey, it's something the whole world joins in with so, I'm not complaining.
This joy does not always come without hardship or trial or days when you feel like you just can't get out of bed to face it. Those days are the very reason we need Jesus. And, truly, when our joy is most contagious. The world is baffled at things that don't make sense - hope in the midst of despair, love in the midst of hatred, peace in the midst of chaos and joy in the midst of pain.
There are some things going on in my life right now that I am struggling to have joy in. Nothing life-threatening. But circumstances that I would surely not choose for me or my loved ones to be facing this holiday season. Maybe you are too. But know that even during the private battles - joy can still shine so evidently. Not everyone needs to know your pain to see your joy.
Every morning, Micah wakes up and asks, "Is it Christmas today?!" Because he knows the REAL party is coming - when family gathers together in one room, presents will be opened, delicious food (and cookies!) eaten. And every day I say, "Not yet. But we're going to keep celebrating!"
May we live every moment of our lives with as much expectancy for Jesus' return as we do for Christmas Day. And while THE day might not be TODAY, may we celebrate with a joy so contagious as if it was.