Restore the Joy of Christmas
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. Luke 1:38
Feeling overwhelmed by all you need to do before Christmas Day? Is it even possible to have a busy yet peaceful Christmas season—to move from hectic and stressful to calm and joyful?
Yes … if we follow Mary’s example.
She could have characterized the days leading up to Jesus’s birth as hectic. Her hours were filled with hurried packing for an unexpected journey, the stress of traveling to Bethlehem in census traffic, and all the busyness of preparing for a baby’s arrival.
But Mary understood what was about to happen. The angel Gabriel had explained that Mary would give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, and she was filled with joy. She proclaimed, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior … for the Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49).
So how can we move from stressful to joyful?
We do what Mary did. First, she offered herself as a servant to God (Luke 1:38). She recognized the privilege He’d given her and accepted the responsibilities and hardships that accompany servanthood. We too can view the Christmas season as an opportunity to serve God—to reach out to relatives, friends, and strangers. This servant mind-set helps us maintain a godly perspective during the Christmas season.
Second, Mary reflected on her experiences and what they taught her about God and His plans (Luke 1:46-53). We too can set aside time to reflect on who God is and what He desires to accomplish through our lives. We can allow the glorious truths of the Christmas story to take root in our souls. That enables the Holy Spirit to produce fruit that will energize us, such as joy, peace, love, goodness, and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22-23). We also can keep the wonder of Immanuel—God with us—in the forefront of our minds to guard against Satan’s lie that we must accomplish goals and solve problems in our own strength.
Step aside from busy, hectic, and stressful. Step into joy, hope, and peace this December. Embrace Mary’s mind-set. Schedule time with God each day. Look for opportunities to serve others. Walk into the new year with joy.
We invite you to join us on a 31-day devotional journey this December. Download a copy of Restore the Joy: A Daily Devotional for December at amazon.com. (Price: $2.99). Follow us on Facebook each day as we fuel our joy throughout the Christmas season. We’ll also be featuring devotions from Restore the Joy on the website each week. (You can download Amazon’s free app if you don’t have Kindle or Nook.)
Read Galatians 5:22-23. Write the verses on a 3×5 card and post it in a prominent place (such as a bathroom mirror or the refrigerator). Choose a different fruit each day and ask God to manifest it in your life in a way that impacts someone else.
Read Luke 1:34-37. What seems “impossible” to you during the Christmas season? Make a list, then ask God to turn those things into “possible” this year.
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is the introduction to the four-week series of devotions we’ll take from Restore the Joy.