Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fighting for joy.

 It's hard to believe we're a mere eight weeks from the end of 2011.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are pressing upon us.
My friend Jake made this observation in a recent blog post: "Now we creep toward the holidays, which, sadly, have become anxiety-ridden endurance contests."

How true.

How is it that the days that were meant for giving thanks, enjoying friends and family and marveling anew at the wonder of a great God have turned into a time of stress? How is it that I lose my focus?

I've been thinking a lot about joy lately.
One of Webster's definitions is "a source or cause of delight."
I've heard that happiness is a momentary feeling or emotion that comes and goes based on external factors. But joy is much deeper. Yes, it is exuberant at times. But it also refers to a calmness, a peace that remains even in the midst of craziness.

A contentedness.

One definition of "contented" is to "accept one's situation or life with equanimity (calmness, confidence, assurance) and satisfaction."

My friend Rachel and I were talking tonight about how, oftentimes, we live for Dec. 26 -- a signal to the end of the holiday madness, if you will.
This year, I don't want to coast through the holidays. I don't just want to endure.
I want to live purposefully during it.

For some, the holidays can be a time of sadness, loneliness, a reminder of pain and loss.
Rachel and I talked about how we have these expectations that the holidays are going to be that Christmasy card fake idea. You know, the stuff you see on TV and hear on the commercials. The perfect family wearing the perfect clothes and eating the perfect meal. And when it doesn't turn out the way we imagine it in our minds, there's that disappointment, disillusionment, frustration, whatever.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the holidays and the gift of spending it with the ones I love. But if/when the drama and the stress come, what will they do to me, to us, this year? It's so easy to let the busyness and anxiety creep in.

This holiday season, I've resolved to fight for joy.

4 comments:

  1. Fight the good fight, Lola. I've been fighting it for some years now, and in the last few years find that I'm finally making some headway. The holidays for me now are more about spending time with my loved ones--imperfect as they, and I, are--and less about "stuff." It's more about making new memories and less about fantasizing about the old ones. More about Christ and less about the world's way of celebrating. It's still a fight, though, and it's so easy to get caught up in the...um...crap.

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  2. What a great post! I am sad that so many people stress about Thanksgiving and Christmas, seeing their families, buying gifts, money, etc. My church as participated in the Advent Conspiracy the past few years and it's been great! It helps me to move my focus back where it belongs, on Christ. In fact I think I'll blog about it. This seems to be a theme in blog land lately, worry over avoiding the stress of "the holidays."

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  3. You know, this year I have challenged myself to go simple -- enjoy time with friends and family, give more and ask for less, remember the reason for the season, perform random acts of kindness, work on Black Friday (I do this every year), avoid Walmart and the mall.

    Here's to fighting for joy!

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