Joy and Peace

This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.  –Psalm 118:24

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I love the spirit of the season, the kindness and generosity toward those in need, the lights, the music, the happiness.  Joy.  Peace.

My Christmas season begins promptly on November 1.  I’m one of those.  But this season has been…different.  On November 2, my husband quit his job.  On November 9, he started his new job.  In a new city…in a new state.  Our season so far has been riddled with stress, tears, sadness, a little bit of heartache, and a lot of frustration.  My husband loves his job, which makes it all worth it.  We feel this opportunity came from God, and firmly believe God’s will is for us to be in this new place.  This year though, instead of being excited for this Christmas season (and all the decorating), I feel like a big Scrooge.  We have minimal decorations up since we are trying to sell our house.  We weren’t going to put up a tree, but when the kids felt slighted and we realized we would actually be here on Christmas, we did put one up.  I’ve done my Christmas shopping, and found some happiness and fun in it…but overall, it just doesn’t have the same feel as years past.

Yesterday, after a week of battling a stomach bug in our home that hit three of us and a fever that hit the last girl standing, I collapsed on the couch and talked to God.  I told Him how exhausted I am, how frustrated I am.  And in response, I heard my children giggling and laughing together in the playroom.  I heard the knock on the door from my husband, and the ensuing laughter and pure joy from the kids that he was home.  My youngest danced, went in circles and yelled “daddeeee” all through the house.  I admit, I was still disengaged.  Sheer exhaustion from the week hit me hard.  And it did again today.  But now, while I am relishing the first healthy quiet moments of my week, I can see what God was telling me.

This is the day I have made.  Rejoice!!  Be happy!

I am trying to focus on the joyful moments instead of the stressful ones.  It’s hard, and I’m not exactly doing a great job looking back on the last week.  But I am feeling more and more peace.  Even if I don’t notice it in the moment, God is showing me the joyful moments when quiet hits.  This Christmas season, my relationship with God is stronger than ever.  I talk with Him a lot.  Sometimes bold prayers, sometimes intercessory prayers, and sometimes just plain conversation.  Like last night, just pouring out my frustration.  He knows what’s on my heart, and He has given me peace in return for my trust in Him.

So this season, in the midst of all the stress and frustration that accompany an inter-state move coupled with the “normal” holiday stress, I’m finding peace.  I’m hearing God more and more.  I’m strengthening my relationship with God each day…even on the days I feel like I have failed.  I am praying that He will continue to help me find the joy in each day, and give me peace during the stress.  We celebrate the birth of Christ, who came down from Heaven to SAVE US ALL.  That’s the greatest gift in the world.  And this Christmas?  I am really learning just how amazing that gift is, as I need God to help me through this tough transition.

Joy.  Peace.  Gifts to us from God through His son Jesus Christ.  In the hustle and bustle of the season, we all need the quiet time to just sit and enjoy these gifts from God.

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