I know it sounds silly. The holiday season is suppose to be full of joy. In my experience though, it won’t just float down upon us, or come wrapped in a decorated box. By following the evolving traditions of modern culture, are we finding true joy? Or just moments of surface happiness, strung together like Christmas lights around the tree?
Over the years, my husband and I have simplified holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. This has been about not doing, not buying, not planning things. It is a very cleansing experience and opens up space for what truly brings us joy. There is a lot of intention in our choices, but they also come from a specific lifestyle we have chosen. We are both lovers of adventure, travel and experience, and over the last 12 years we have lived between 3 countries and in numerous homes. Moving will drive you to insanity if you cling to material things, so we don’t.
I can clearly divide our 12 years together into 7 “seasons”. While we are continuously working toward maintaining the lifestyle we have chosen, we often make last minute, unexpected decisions. We try to intentionally leave our hearts open to opportunity that may present itself, and to be aware of the Lord nudging us in a specific direction.
When we approach times of change and are faced with uncertainty, we can feel scared and anxious.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
We push and pray ourselves into believing in the future, into having Faith in what God has for us, into believing in His promises and His word.
With each “seasonal change”, I imagine myself (and the life-journey I am on), as a painting that the Lord is carefully adding to or revealing. We can’t imagine what He has in store for us in the future, but as we dream about tomorrow’s adventures, we can choose hope and excitement.
It is not easy to choose hope and excitement over fear. In this struggle, I cling to my faith. Some moments I feel like a child telling myself, “there’s not a monster by the closet. It’s only a pile of clothes” or “it will all work out, everything will be okay”.
It’s not easy to choose hope and excitement over fear. Yet it is possible.
This year the Lord has us in yet another new season. He has sat down in front of the canvas and is ready to reveal a new chapter in our lives; now pause. Again.
He has sat down in front of the canvas and is ready to reveal a new chapter in our lives.
Breath in that truth.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
While we have the freedom of choice, God is there with us, guiding us, encouraging us and lighting the right paths at all the forks in the road. His Holy Spirit lives with us and it all began with the birth of Jesus Christ. There is no uncertainty in this truth, regardless of what unexpected changes we may be facing. This “good news” that has brought us “great joy” is here with us now, in this moment. We do not need to wait.
As the shepherds sat in the field, ready to wait out the night and in anticipation for a new day, they were probably a little cold and maybe a little anxious. They became “terrified” by the sudden appearance of angels. It was unexpected and powerful. Yet it was in this moment that the Lord brought them joy. In these moments of uncertainty, in seasons of transition (whether it is a big life change or just a new year) we have the opportunity to experience true joy.
When we have been stripped of the comforts that we thought we needed to fill our lives with, whether through hardship or choice, space is created to return to what truly matters. What is it that truly matters? Each year, this becomes a topic of conversation, revolving around gifts, stuff and the chaos of the season. Often times we acknowledge the fact that we do too much, buy too much and make ourselves too busy. Sometimes we are afraid of missing out on something or feeling empty without “the holiday cheer”. But if we can face the truth that “GOD IS ENOUGH” - more than enough! - we can find ways to create space in our lives to find joy in what we have.
About the Author
Leona Abrahao is a wife, mother and traveler who is intrigued by how different people live. Her latest project is exploring ways that different walks of life can simplify, in order to live a fulfilling journey.