By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
December is a season of joy… or at least it is supposed to be. Unfortunately, circumstances often hijack our hearts and minds. One of our youth recently found the family’s deceased cat after it had been missing for weeks. Others are battling cancer. Many are weary of online schooling. More are sick of COVID conversations and political posturing. Our circumstances are ripe for a joyless Christmas.
You’ve probably noticed the lack of joy in others lately. Have you heard someone say, “Wow! Does she have an attitude!” Have you ever said that about your child or maybe someone else’s child? Or maybe you thought it of your spouse. It’s not hard to spot a bad attitude in others even when they come in many shapes and sizes.
The Screamer will cry profusely, yelling “life’s not fair.”
The Pouter will force a frown and fold their arms.
The Critic will repeatedly point out your shortcomings.
The Pessimist will ooze skepticism and suspicion.
The Attacker will release a barrage of past hurts.
The Retreater will stuff all emotion and disengage.
We can see the bad attitude come out with harsh words or not-so-subtle silence. We can see it in crossed arms, rolling eyes, and the wagging of a finger. Their bad attitude quickly crushes any joy in the room, and it’s easy for us to blame them for our own bad attitude.
However, you have a choice. Your attitude is a choice. Paul repeatedly tells us to rejoice as in 1 Thessalonians 6:16 where he says, “Rejoice always”. In 1 Peter 1:6, Peter commends the church for rejoicing in the midst of suffering.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, made this choice amidst the difficulties of rejection and shame. Her infamous song is recorded in Luke 1:46-48…
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
We have a choice to focus our attention on Jesus Christ or to let our circumstances hijack the joy of Christmas. So, I urge you to make time each day for Jesus. Here are some great options…
Read short sections of Luke 1 and 2 with your family each day,
Read Paul’s letter to the Philippians,
Crank up some Christmas music,
Keep studying the Discipleship Essentials workbook, and as you sense God’s joy in your heart, share it. Don’t keep it to yourself. Rejoice! And soon people will be saying, “Wow! Does he/she have a GREAT attitude!”
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