Written by Karen Thom
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” – Psalm 100:1-2 (NIV)
As a kid, every year we would go cut down our own Christmas Tree. It was an adventure. We would go to the Christmas tree farm and dismiss all the perfectly good trees that were close, in order to find the perfect tree. We would walk and walk as far as possible from the car to find just the right one that was just a little taller than my dad’s hand when he raised it in the air. And then we would cut it down and strap it to the back of the van (it only fell off one year).
When we got home, we had to wait until the tree was properly wired to the wall (because of the cats), and the lights were finally all working (after finding the few culprits that would make the whole stand go out). And then we would put on our record of John Denver and the Muppets Christmas. And while listening to Ms. Piggy belting out “Five Gold Rings!!” we put up almost every single one of our millions of decorations. We sang along to every song with JOY and loved every moment of it.
When Josh and I got married, we continued to go every year to the Christmas tree farm to cut down our own tree. We even downloaded the digital copy of John Denver’s album and filled the house with the JOY of those traditions. It is still one of my favorite traditions that my three kids now enjoy too.
Christmas with three kids is never calm or peaceful, but we do make sure it is full of JOY. Sometimes for us that may mean filling the house with music from the Muppets. And other times it means going to my in-laws where 26 family members all play “Silent Night” on Kazoos! There is never a dull moment in our family!
My wish for you this Christmas season is to find JOY. It may be in traditions that have been around in your family for years or you may want to try something new this year. God has given us JOY through the Holy Spirit. It is listed as one of the Fruits of the Spirit. In the midst of everything this year, find JOY.
If you’ve missed any of our previous daily readings, you can find them all archived here. We hope these readings are helping you encounter God this season!