Christmas Ornaments - Joy

(Part 4 in a 4 Part Christmas Series)

There is just something about celebrating a first at Christmas time. Every feeling, every emotion, every experience is amplified during the Christmas season and we are left with ornaments of memories that last a lifetime.

Some Christmas firsts make us smile, like the first Christmas after my husband, Mike, and I were married. We were poor as dirt, living in a duplex with hand-me-down furniture living on Ramon noodles and whatever we could beg, borrow and steal from our parents. Our shopping list was small and there were no Wii’s, iPods nor jewelry on our lists. We were happy.

I remember the first Christmas after I became a mom. Hannah was only two months old that year, all wide-eyed and giggling. She loved lying on her back near the tree and staring at the little white lights. She was more fascinated with chewing on her toes than any gift we could have bought for her. We were happy.

Christmas firsts can be so full of smiles - like the first Christmas after you start a new job; the first
Christmas after you move into a new home or graduate from college. You buy a new house or make a new friend. Life is good, music makes you sing and you walk around light-hearted. Moments which are exciting and memorable add delight to your Christmas celebrations.

But not every Christmas first is happy.

I will always remember the first Christmas after Mike and I lost our baby to a miscarriage. We had three children at home, and were so excited to be having a fourth. We had always talked about having four children, and I felt like our family was complete. My heart was broken that year, and when Christmas came a few months later, it was difficult to celebrate without our little baby.

The first Christmas after my dad died was full of sorrow and regret for what might have been and sadness at looking ahead to a life without him. The first Christmas after Grandma Brillhart passed away was full of loneliness at losing someone who understood me.
Christmas firsts can stay with us over a lifetime of changes, and sometimes bring us tears, and other times, smiles. Christmas firsts are like permanent tattoos on our heart that remind us of where we have been and of the journey yet to come.

And though Christmas firsts aren’t always happy, they can always be joyful, if we know the
difference.

Happiness is fleeting. It comes and goes and is completely dependent on our circumstances. When good things happen to us, we feel happy, and that is a blessing. We need to embrace and enjoy those moments.

But joy is not fleeting, and comes from within. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances. We can be joyful no matter what is going on in our lives if we know the Christ of Christmas.

You see, while happiness comes from the outside in, joy comes from the inside out and is born of a love that we can hardly comprehend – a love that comes from God.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

That silent whisper is Him. That quiet voice saying I love you just as you are, is Him.

Whatever your circumstances are this Christmas, I pray you find the joy that can only come from knowing the Baby born in a lowly manger in Bethlehem, and that your life is decorated with all the ornaments He has sent to you.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Trish Berg 12:25 PM  

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