Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Fighting for joy.
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 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.
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.