For me, love and joy go hand in hand…partially because I ran out of time to write another blog post with the way that Advent fell this year, but also because I truly believe that these two values feed off of one another. The kind of love that Jesus calls us to is a sacrificial love that often doesn’t feel very good. In the same way, choosing joy when something doesn’t go your way or you suffer a crippling loss can seem impossible.
Christmas reminds us that inconvenient circumstances provide a platform for living lives filled with love and joy. Whether you’re in line at customer service to ask about a gift on hold at Macy’s or swaddling a baby in a manger, these inconvenient circumstances are moments where we can move beyond our gut reactions and show others love with joy.
I can be pretty sensitive at times, which often gets me into trouble. This week, and in the new year, my goal is to remember the words of Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Through the power of Christ, I have a heart that is alive to love and a spirit that is anchored in joy. What would it look like if that heart and that spirit united to look past confrontations with coworkers and time wasted in traffic to lift spirits and point others toward Jesus? The power is present in our ability to remember the baby who grew up to love everyone joyfully, even when facing the cross.
Practice: This week, I encourage you to wake up each day and choose joy, reflecting on how that conscious choice affects your ability to love others well and spread the life of Christ.