This can be a difficult time of year when everywhere we turn there is the sense that we are supposed to be filled with joy and good cheer, when, in fact, it can be a very difficult, depressing time for many.
The social pressures that surround Christmas can place undue burdens on parents who feel they have to find that one gift that their child must have; on spouses who search for the one gift that can really speak of the love they have in their heart; for those who feel they must outdo another, or overspend. The loneliness of those who have lost a loved one or who are separated from them by distance can also put a serious damper on this holy season.
The list is endless.
But none of these things have anything to do with Christmas! The further away we get from the miracle of the Incarnation of Jesus--the Father sending the Son to save us--the less joy we will have in our hearts.
Giving and receiving gifts can be a lot of fun, but our joy does not come from all of these external things, but from the quiet place in our heart that celebrates the greatest gift of all time. When we contemplate the life of Jesus, we shift our focus and adopt a more grateful heart. From this place of love, we can find true joy.
If you want to find joy again in this holy season, spend some time alone, in the quiet, in the presence of God. Then, when you return to the tasks that must be done, you will do them from a place of refreshment. The shopping will not be tedious, but thoughtful.
May God pour out His love on you as this holy season begins, and bring your family an abundance of love, joy and peace.