The pace has picked up, the to-do lists have multiplied, travel plans are set, family members are sick, the preparations are underway, the stores are filled, the parking lots are packed…and the days are flying by.
We are surrounded by people, inundated with errands, and our days are jam packed with places to be and people to see.
It’s right about now we typically start setting little ‘milestone-goal-dates’ in our minds. “If we can just get through Dec. 15th we should be alright…wait, no, we have company coming after that…okay, if we can just get through Dec.26th….no, wait, we have that thing that night….oh and and don’t forget about…”
We are now in survival mode.
“If we can just make it…without losing our minds…”
We Don’t Need Anything New
There are literally thousands of ways we could celebrate this advent season. Just do a quick search on Pinterest for “Advent” and you’ll see a bazillion ideas pop up! You’d find everything from lighting candles, to inviting friends over, singing songs for your neighbors, making crafts with your kids….and even an idea to fill a manger with hay every time someone in your family does something kind.
These ideas, quite frankly, are lovely…each one of them…but completely lifeless if disconnected from meaningful, intentional, restful, worshipful time in His presence.
These advent ideas, if void of Jesus himself, are incomplete.
And if we focus our energies and our time on the actions instead of the invitation we’ve missed it.
Completely missed it.
Might I suggest that you and I don’t need to add anything more to our days right now?
What You Really Want
The year may have taken a toll on you. You might be feeling downcast, low, frustrated, lonely, overwhelmed, weary, numb…and it would be not only easy, but very tempting, to purposely get caught up in the chaos of this season to mask, or set aside, the things that require too much emotional energy.
But I know what it is you’re looking for. We can hide it with our busyness or mask it with our smiles, but I know what it is you truly want.
Because it’s what I want too.
Not temporary happiness that comes and goes with circumstances as uncertain as the wind.
What we search for and want most is the kind of steadfast joy that comes from the deepest parts of our souls.
Joy that finds hope in the darkest of days, purpose when life seems to be unraveling, grace when there is uncertainty, and peace in the confusion and pain.
The kind of joy that cannot be manufactured, purchased or mimicked.
What You Really Need
What we truly need this holiday season is a moment with the one we celebrate.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
When was the last time you sat alone to just talk with Him?
When was the last time you shut the door to quiet your room in order to quiet your heart?
When was the last time you opened His word to really hear His voice, to be at peace in His presence, to sit at His feet?
Abiding In Him IS Fullness of Joy
This past year I’ve been focusing a great deal on the word “abide” taken out of 1 John. The word means to obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, conform to, stand by, in accordance with, heed, to along with…
John 15 says this, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself…”.
A little bit further down in John 15 it says that we are to abide in His love, keeping his commandments, and to remember the things he has spoken…in order that “my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
The same joy that is in Jesus comes directly from the Father. And that happens to be the same joy that has been poured out into us by the indwelling of the Spirit.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control…and for those who are in Christ have been given this love in our hearts. Which means each of these are already ours! We don’t need to ask for something that already belongs to us, we already have them!
But…we forget, don’t we?!
It’s as if we’ve fallen asleep. Our souls have become dull.
We skip past because we’ve heard this all before.
It’s as though we have stared at the same magnificent painting for too many hours and have grown unimpressed, unmoved…bored….ready to move on to bigger and better things.
Stir One Another Up This Holiday Season
There is nothing bigger and nothing better for you and me this advent season than to seek after Jesus.
Please read that again more slowly…There is nothing bigger and there is nothing better for this advent season than to seek after Jesus.
My hope is to use these fingers right now as I type to awaken and stir up your soul and mine.
What I want most is for the Spirit of God during this season, yes even this crazy, insane, fast paced season, to increase our affections for the greatest joy of all: the arrival and the work and the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in this world.
2 Peter 1:13 says, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder” and I want us to do the same!
This is the gift of the Body! We need each other! We need to stop one another, slow one another down, and remember together. We need to stop our kids, speak to Jesus with them, and remember together.
We need the constant reminder because the Word is clear that our hearts so quickly deceive us. It’s so easy to think we can find joy elsewhere and we waste so much time trying to find it in other places. We get off track so easily.
As followers of Christ there is nothing better than to be reminded over and over and over and over again, like a favorite sweet melody sung repeatedly over us, where true rest and true joy come from. Spend time with Jesus, and then please, please be a part of reminding one another to do the same.
Remember this advent season: Apart from Him we can do nothing. In His presence is FULLNESS of joy.