“I will Joy in the God of my Salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18
I have come to realize life is a series of stories. True stories of our lives unfold each day filled with different events. Some of these events we plan for and others we do not. It is the unexpected events that give us the opportunity to respond with God’s heart of joy and thanksgiving verses the enemies attempt to rob us of joy in spite of our circumstance.
Just yesterday, after my girls and I finished our daily reading of God’s word and our prayers for the day ahead, I encountered one such opportunity.
Our Christmas celebration was in full swing with the excitement of the Christmas decorations, the constant baking and eating of cookies, and the sounds of Christmas music that began to ring loudly throughout our home the day after Thanksgiving. Yesterday our plans included more baking. Six dozen Snickerdoodles to finish the desserts for my daughter’s wedding on 3 January and six loaves of Pumpkin bread to share with others. Our kitchen was a buzz of activity. There was Christmas music and the mixing and baking of the cookies and breads. I took the job of making the breads. I knew the recipe was a sure thing as I had watched my daughter make a beautiful batch on Sunday. My youngest daughter chose the job of the six dozen cookies! We were working side by side and singing along to our favorite Christmas tunes. I had taken the time to set out all of my ingredients so I would not forget anything. I was using my bread machine as my mixer and each ingredient added texture, flavor and fluff. I remembered my daughters instructions from Sunday to not mix it too long so the dough would stay light. I carefully poured the mixture into each bread pan and placed them in the oven. Within a few minutes the smell of cinnamon and cloves began to fill the air. “Delicious,” I said as I continued to clean up. We have two ovens so my daughter was now in the process of placing new cookies into the other oven every 9 minutes or so. During one of her rotations at the oven she decided to peek in on my breads. I will never forget the look on her face as she turned to me with the oven door still cracked and said, “Mom, your breads are boiling!” “What?” I said and quickly went over and looked inside. Sure enough my bread was boiling. UGH. I knew right away I had forgotten the flour! This was the crucial moment of time, this was the opportunity to respond with joy or not! I will confess it took me a while to walk in joy and get over the fact that I had made such a silly mistake. I had set out to make these breads to bless others and now I had ruined them and wasted all of the ingredients and precious time . As I was working through all of these thoughts my youngest said, “Mom it could have happened to anyone.” She was demonstrating to me such love through her words of encouragement. She even volunteered to start over and make the bread for me as I had to leave for an appointment. She was my example of choosing joy in spite of the circumstance and she made me realize I needed to let it go and do the same.
So my lesson of faith today is to not let the business of the season rob us of our joy! The next time I hear my daughter say, “Mom, your bread is boiling,” Instead of frustration I am going to be ready to take a breath and remember the joy and hope I have every day because of the most important and true story ever told found in Luke 2.
Luke 2: 8-11 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over the flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
I am so grateful for the gift of Jesus’ birth and how the revelation of His life, death and resurrection changed my life forever.
As we count down to Christmas may our focus be the celebration of the greatest gift ever given. Let us be purposeful to bring hope to those less fortunate, to those hurting, and to those who do not know the true meaning of Christmas. Let us choose Joy as our first response remembering the true story of Jesus’ birth, the greatest gift ever given for us!