As Christmas was drawing nearer and we still hadn't decorated the house, I started feeling disappointed that I couldn't decorate with the nice electric candles in the windows, the fake pine garland, the beautiful wreath for the door, and other nice things that I always liked to use during the Christmas season in America. I didn't like the fact that I had to settle for some dollar store tinsel garland we had from the states and some other odds and ends that I managed to scrape up for the holiday decorations.
When it came time to decorate, the kids and I grabbed our meager decorations and tried to make the house look as full of holiday cheer as possible with the few things we had. We ended up with a small fake Christmas tree (Tyren bought it in town here last Christmas-our first Christmas tree ever) decorated with balls, lights and a star that a Mozambican friend had bought for us last year when Tyren was in Maputo; the dollar store red and green tinsel garland draped around the ceiling and walls of the kitchen, school room and living room areas; and large red bows hanging in the windows. The look of utter joy and delight on the faces of my children after all was said and done brought tears to my eyes, and suddenly I was ashamed of the disappointment that I had allowed to enter into my heart hours before.
I began to think anew about why we celebrate Christmas. Although the reason for the season had never departed from my mind and heart, I had allowed something altogether unlike the joy and love that we celebrate over Christ's sacrifice for us when He came to earth, to enter into my heart also and take root. That seed could have destroyed my joy if God hadn't shown me His joy anew in the faces of my children. At that moment I chose to abide in Christ and receive His joy.
As we enter into this New Year, I pray that God will continue to shine His face upon us and show us His joy not only in the faces of our loved ones, but also in the midst of the storms, in our times of hurt and disappointment, and in our days of despair. May His joy continue to be complete in us at all times.
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11
Happy New Year!