Choose Joy

I grew up in Colorado, which meant we had snow every winter. When it would snow, my sister and I would take our cheap plastic shovels outside and start making the largest snow hill that we could. Then we’deither ride our sleds down the small hill or start digging a hole through the side to begin making an igloo.

In order to build an igloo you need to start shaving the snow away, but if you shave too much your walls become too thin. Once your walls get too thin, the whole thing starts falling apart. Igloos don’t have wood structures holding the pieces together, and it’s really easy for them to become unstable and collapse.

I share this memory because much like building an igloo, many of us are seeking happiness and joy, but it feels like the walls are falling in on us. Many times we believe we are putting our hope in a stable structure, but much like that igloo, it cannot hold the weight. In fact, the culture around us tells us a story that “being happy” and “experiencing joy” should be easy and should be dependent on our circumstances or possessions. However, we know that many in our world have everything and still feel miserable.

I recently heard someone say that if your goal is personal joy, you will never achieve it. But if your goal is other people’s joy, not only would you be loving others, but also you may receive joy in the journey.

Many years ago, Jesus taught a similar lesson. Jesus says,

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me” – John 15:9 NLT

Jesus’ life is a picture of love, true sacrificial love and service. In the Bible, the name “Father” is used to describe God because it represents the love of a father to a son. Jesus was loved by the Father and in turn Jesus loved others also.

Many are familiar with the symbol of Jesus on a cross. You may be wearing a cross right now. But that symbol represents sacrificial love. Love looks like serving others. Jesus says,

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” – John 15:13 NLT

Love is a sacrifice that puts the needs of other people above our own. True love seeks the joy of others. Jesus follows this up by saying,

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”  – John 15:11 NLT

The experience of someone else’s sacrificial love brings more joy than any purchase. Sure, a purchase can bring joy in a moment, but the memory of a sacrificial gift only gets better with time.

A call to choose joy is a call to God’s greatest commandment that we learn about in Matthew 22:37-39,

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Would you take a journey with us this Christmas season to get to know this God of love?

Over the next 4 weeks, we want to shift our focus from the distractions of the holiday season to the Love, hope, and peace that Jesus offers us. You can receive a weekly devotional straight to your phone when you text the word LIGHT to 893893. And be sure to tune into 89.3 KSBJ to fill your day with Christmas music all season long!

Choose Joy