Finding Joy (when things don't go your way)

I’m not usually one of these people who starts listening to Christmas music in October. The rule in my house is “one holiday at a time”! This year, however, I broke my own rule and began listening to Christmas music in November to get in the spirit to plan for our December Kids series, “JOY.” I even put up my tree before Thanksgiving! The problem for me, though, is that the closer it gets to Christmas, the more I find myself wishing it away. When Christmas is over, I’ll be able to ____ (fill in the blank with anything that sounds refreshing!). Or... I can’t wait to enjoy my break when we are finished traveling. I find myself dreading Christmas instead of embracing it. You might say I’ve lost my Christmas joy! 

In Better Life Kids, we define joy as finding a way to be happy even when things don’t go your way. It’s easy to hear that and think about all the ways kids need to hear that truth! They throw tantrums or freak out over the smallest things! But I think I’m starting to see that we grownups don’t behave much better. Consider people’s behavior on Black Friday! Or Christmas shopping in general... It’s just a Hatchimal, people!

Here’s some things that “don’t go our way” as adults at Christmas time: strained family relationships, that Christmas recipe that didn’t turn out as expected, busting your Christmas budget, lights going out on the pre-lit tree, forgetting that gift you were supposed to send to school with your child, or having to get out of bed to reposition that darn elf! There’s so many things that make us say bah-humbug... I can’t wait til Christmas is over! We know deep down this is not the right attitude to embrace. So, how do we find joy when things don’t go our way? 

Simple. We return to what this craziness is all about. Jesus. Sweet little baby Jesus who came to earth as the greatest gift of all—the savior of the world! In the midst of the craziness of the season... stop. Just stop and breathe. Remember why God gave us Christmas. It wasn’t to make us exhausted and overwhelmed. So don’t let it! Find joy in the little things and keep your eyes focused on Jesus! The rest will fall into place and everything will get done. And if it doesn’t, it probably wasn’t something God called you and your family to do in the first place. 

So as you round the corner to Christmas, hold onto joy. His name is Jesus. And he probably doesn’t care about Hatchimals.

Tarah Eldridge