A Joy So Contagious

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. 

photo by Justin Robinson

photo by Justin Robinson

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. 

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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. 

Artful Advent - Joy

If I had to choose an emotion that sums up the Christmas season for me, I would choose joy. I'm an extrovert, so even the mad rush of people in the mall doesn't ruin my joy (seriously, we went shopping on Saturday... the mall was crazy... and besides getting separated from my husband and son for 15 minutes, I LOVED it!) I'm one of those weird people that enjoys being in the midst of chaos, seeing faces light up as they find the perfect gift for their loved one. I buy peppermint lattes to sip while I ride along in my car, enjoying every Christmas song that comes on the radio (except, "Christmas shoes." I admit, that one kills the joy a little bit). I sing along at the top of my lungs. And my heart is full.

Still... the most exciting place for me to be every Christmas season is coming up this weekend! Christmas candle light services at The Springs. Celebrating my Savior's birth along with thousands of others for FOUR NIGHTS straight?! Pure JOY.

The salvation we receive through Jesus Christ is the most exciting thing we could ever celebrate. But there is something about starting at the beginning of the story, with his birth, that makes it more human. Jesus had a birthday. The exact date? Probably forever a mystery. But December 25th, Christmas day, has been calculated to be the most probable time that Jesus was born.

And when he was born, there was a huge celebration! Angels were even sent to gather human beings to come together and worship at the feet of Jesus, the baby!

We shared this verse on our Christmas cards we sent out this year.

But the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great JOY to all people. The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" - Luke 2:10-11

Good news! Great JOY to all people!

If you are struggling to find joy this Christmas season, I urge you to start at the beginning. Go back to the point when you first heard about Jesus. Remember the feeling. That same great joy that came upon you at the moment of your salvation, was the same joy that came upon the shepherds when they heard about the Messiah's birth!

And oh, what a celebration it was! I bet there were drums and other instruments played for Jesus. Whatever gifts they could bring, both tangible and intangible, they gave with JOY.

I have to be honest, I was at a loss when thinking of a song to share for you all today for Artful Advent. I mean, I have all the joy in the world right now - but, every song I thought of seemed incapable of expressing that! So instead, I decided I would share a song that has brought me joy this past week as I listened to it. This song is one of the most joyful, upbeat Christmas songs out there and I think this group probably did the best version of it I have ever heard!

So I leave you... with "Little Drummer Boy" by Pentatonix.

Come they told me Pa rum pum pum pum A new born King to see Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring Pa rum pum pum pum To lay before the King Pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum

So to honor Him Pa rum pum pum pum When we come

Little baby Pa rum pum pum pum I am a poor boy too Pa rum pum pum pum I have no gift to bring Pa rum pum pum pum That's fit to give our King Pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum

Shall I play for you Pa rum pum pum pum On my drum

Mary nodded Pa rum pum pum pum The ox and lamb kept time Pa rum pum pum pum I played my drum for Him Pa rum pum pum pum I played my best for Him Pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum

Then He smiled at me Pa rum pum pum pum Me and my drum