My favorite Christmas carol is “Joy to the World.” I think that hymn sums it all up for me and when we finally sing it at church, I know it’s Christmas time! Growing up someone once said that true joy can be found when one get’s his joy in order. A simple acrostic helps put your priorities in order and can really help you find joy this holiday season.
J – Jesus: I know it’s an old saying but it’s the truth and we should never tire of focusing on Jesus at Christmas. Get this one right and everything else usually falls into place. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the “stuff” that Christmastime brings but our challenge is to make sure that Jesus stays at the center of our Christmas celebrations and fun. For me, that takes some intentional planning and preparation. Scheduling time with friends and family to not only exchange gifts, eat awesome food, and enjoy each other’s fellowship, but to stop and purposefully focus of The Gift we’ve been given through Christ Jesus. The focus can’t stop with His birth but quickly move to His sacrifice, truly the greatest gift ever given.
O – Others: Don’t misunderstand me here. I am very aware that Kids Ministers are most ALWAYS focusing on someone other than themselves, but I’m talking about looking for folks who might not be expecting your kindness and share with them a bit of Christmas joy. Are there people in your community that you and your family could reach out to this season? What about the senior adults in your community who may be alone? What about those who’ve been severely affected by the ongoing recession? Perhaps you know someone who experienced death this year and is doing Christmas for the first time without their loved one. There are people all around us who are in need. Look for ways to express love to others.
Y – You: Please note that YOU are on this list! Too many times we overlook ourselves and never get around to doing something nice for “me.” After you’ve got the “J” and the “O” straightened out, take some time for the “Y,” you! Carve out some time this season to take care of yourself. Read a book; watch a movie; take a nap. Sometimes, we can’t find our joy because we’re too tired to look. Over the holidays schedule some time to relax and refresh so you’ll be refueled for the New Year.
Joy to the world the Lord has come; Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love.
Bill Emeott serves as Lead Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. He is a graduate of Mercer University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Bill has served in Kids Ministry for almost 30 years and currently teaches 3rd Grade Bible study at his home church in Nashville, TN.