Joyful, Joyful

As we read in Scripture in Psalm 100:1-5, we must " Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."

As we embrace the month of December and the celebration of our Savior's birth, we must have complete joy! Joy, unlike happiness is a state of being, and is measured by what we have been given. As Christians, we have been given something that cannot be taken away. We have joy because of the grace of Jesus Christ that lives in us. We can hold onto joy, we can feel joyful, and we can rejoice with praise no matter what our circumstances may be because no matter what is going on in our lives God is always near. Even if we’re having a bad day, we can joyfully focus on our Savior and who He is in our life and who Jesus is to the world. No matter how down we are, there is always joy to be found in the Lord and Scripture is filled with examples of joy! Christmas is such a time of joy, giving and sharing love and laughter!

Here are 10 Ways that I found to ensure you have a Joyous And Merry Christmas!


10 WAYS TO HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS

1. CONNECT TO THE DEEPER MEANING OF THE SEASON

On the surface of things, it seems Christmas has become little more than a day of getting stuff—an over-commercialized sales-event of high profits and crazed consumerism. Hardly the inspiration to delve deeper into the soul of the occasion. From family togetherness with gift exchanges and Christmas traditions to the original celebration of the birth of Jesus, as believers rededicate our lives to living a Christ-like life of faith and virtue to the popular celebration of the giving spirit of the holiday, there’s something deeply meaningful for almost everyone.


2. SERVE SOMEONE

Sadness is inward-looking. Service is its opposite. So go make someone else’s life better, and watch what happens to yours. Joy will start to replace sorrow. Meaning and purpose will begin to reinsert itself into the holiday experience. Self-pity will give way to a growing appreciation for the bounty of life. The service can be as big as joining a group dedicated to large service projects or as small as random acts of kindness in your neighborhood. Even wishing clerks and others waiting in long holiday lines a “Merry Christmas” can lift their moods, add smiles to tired faces—and chase away your own Christmas blues.


3. CELEBRATE THE SEASON WITH FORGIVENESS

Of all the gifts you give this year, perhaps the most meaningful and life-changing will be the gift of forgiveness you offer someone who has offended you. And here’s the surprise: You will likely benefit the most from forgiving than the person you forgive; it’s as much a gift to yourself as it is to the offender.


4. MAKE IT FUN AND FESTIVE

Get out the lights. Put up the tree. Blast the tunes. Decorate. Dance around the house. Invite others over to dance with you. Sing carols. Pour a glass of eggnog, make hot cocoa and pop some popcorn. Watch a funny holiday movie (Grinch is my favorite). Laugh out loud!

Get into the season. I love watching all the Hallmark and Christmas Baking Shows! Don't wait around for the season to get into you! Jump into it head-first and it won’t take long before you find the season has snuck in the backdoor—or crashed through the front!


5. CREATE A NEW “FAMILY”

If sadness overwhelms the holidays because of loss or divorce or estrangement or distance, start now to create a new “family” of friends you can celebrate Christmas with. If you don’t make friends very quickly, join a club and volunteer to participate on special projects. It’s often in such settings where people with shared interests and values engaged in meaningful service that relationships grow fastest.

But whatever you do, try to get together with others. No matter what happened to your family, whether decades ago or just last weekend, you can start to invite people into your life today. Or try this: If you’re feeling alone this Christmas, go volunteer at a homeless shelter or food line. Check with your local churches, the city or volunteer organizations for information about when and where to show up. It just may change how you “celebrate” Christmas forever. There are also Christmas Programs and Services that you can attend as well to boost your spirits!


6. DO WHAT YOU LOVE

Sometimes when we feel down, we mope around the house feeling sorry for ourselves and wonder why others don’t come by and pull us out of our funk. Well, stop waiting! Be your own funk-breaker! Paint. Run. Climb. Sing. Swim. Serve. Learn. Play. Give. And watch what starts to happen to your holiday spirit.


7. BECOME THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S SECRET SANTA

Bake some cookies. Buy some gift-cards. And start secretly making your neighbors’ day. Put a plate of cookies on a doorstep or put Christmas cards on the windshields of cars in your community. Or, of course, personally deliver the cookies or cards to your neighbors yourself.


8. LIST ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE WONDERFUL IN YOUR LIFE

We often tend to over-exaggerate the negative and under-accentuate the good. But taking the time to write down all that’s sweet in life can change your perspective this season.

Gratitude is contagious. So do all you can to catch it. Then spread it. I guarantee a happier Christmas season once you realize that there is so much to be thankful for, especially for the simple things in life!


9. GET UP, GET DRESSED, GET OUT!

Embrace the Holiday season with Holiday Cheer! Get dressed up in Holiday attire such as Christmas sweaters, hats and scarfs, gloves, and boots! Try not to spend the Holidays oversleeping, un-showered, undressed and feeling blue. Get up! Clean up. Shave. Take a shower, Put on your best duds and go out and enjoy this Holiday Season, even if it's as simple of grabbing a cup of peppermint mocha from your local coffee shop.


10. PUT YOURSELF ON SANTA’S “NICE” LIST

As you’re out doing good to others, spreading Christmas cheer, spread some to yourself as well. Buy yourself a gift. Make it meaningful. Enjoy it. Be grateful you can afford it (no matter how inexpensive it may be). Have fun with it. And then believe you were worth every penny you spent … and then some!

So take action today toward making your Christmas holiday season more enjoyable, joyous and meaningful this year with these 10 easy tips and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!


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