Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Focus on Joy by Angela Arndt

Each year we reserve the last week of the year to post our favorite post from our "day" and this year our Tuesday posts were doozies! So many that have touched my heart and seem so appropriate for this time of year. For example:
Joy on a Gate
The week after Christmas always seems like a bonus week to me. We're in limbo. Almost like we have a chance to redeem the year and prepare for the next. This week, I'm focusing on the word, joy, because I'd like to find mine before the new year starts. 

It doesn't take much to steal our joy, even at Christmas. An empty chair. A snarky remark. Wounded pride. And our perfect Christmas is ruined.

What is a Perfect Christmas?

But seriously, what is a perfect Christmas? Perfect food? Perfect gifts? Perfect attendance?

What was so perfect about that first Christmas? Being "great with child," riding on a donkey for days? Giving birth in a barn? Fleeing to Egypt in the night because the king wanted to kill your child? 

That'll change your perspective in a hurry!

The sweet little "babe in the manger" was God incarnate, born to die for our sins. Grief and pain has been rolled in with Christmas since it was first ordained. We celebrate Jesus' birth, not only because he was God on Earth, but also because His death redeems us. 

What is Joy?

Our salvation. God's unfailing love. Christ's perfect gift. He loved us enough to die for us. He loves us more than anyone else ever could. He will continue to love us, always. That is the joy we celebrate. 

Focus on what is good in life:  Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." The good is there, change your focus.

John 1:5 reminds us, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Check out of social networks for a day or two. A shouting match on Facebook or Twitter never solved anything.

Instead, try calming your heart with another kind of creativity. 


You don't have to be an artist, try your hand at coloring. Drag out your children's colored pencils, markers and crayons. You don't even have to leave the house because here's a link to several free coloring pages with inspirational quotes


David calmed Saul's heart with music. English playwright and poet, William Congreve, said, 
"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks or bend a knotted oak."  
  • Listen or sing along with soothing music. If you don't have a subscription music service, KLOVE plays positive and encouraging music - free. (Here's a link to their player. You may have to allow pop-ups to get it to play.) 
  • Create your own music. Create a SoundCloud account to sing or play. You don't need special equipment, just use your computer's microphone. 
  • Can't sing? Let Jam-a-Gram do it. Just read your favorite quote or message and it will convert it into a beautiful song snippet to keep for yourself or share. Here's my jam-a-gram, just for you.)

More Ideas

Here're a few other ideas to help you focus on joy:

  • Allow God’s love to heal your heart. Pray and meditate on His gift to you. 
  • Focus on today, not tomorrow and what-ifs. Focus on the present, not the past or what-could-have-been.
  • Seek God’s joy with all your heart. You can find several good online devotions through YouVersion.com (where you can download a mobile app) or BibleGateway.com
God’s love can heal our hearts and help us find our joy again. What makes you joyful? What are your plans for the rest of "limbo week?"
About the Author
Angela Arndt writes stories of God's immeasurable grace to bring joy to those on the back roads of life, usually set in small Southern towns.

Coincidentally, she, her husband, and their three very large dogs: Beau the bloodhound, Harley (a very large dog in a 12 lb. poodle's body), and Buddy the Wonder Dog (we wonder where he came from) live in the middle of a big wood outside a small Southern town. She would love for you to visit her website, http://www.angelaarndt.com or her blog, where she hopes you can find your own Joy on the Back Roads