We have a free Christmas gift for you below!
Even in this pandemic year, there is great joy for you at Christmas. But it’s often a hidden joy.
Right now Kristi and I are dealing with sadness. We have family and friends in the hospital with covid. We have additional family we can’t see because they are in a high-risk category for getting sick. We had to cancel our Soul Shepherding Christmas party. Other gatherings and events, personal and ministry, also are not happening.
Yet, there is hidden joy in the here-and-now Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).
But how do we tap into joy in the midst of sadness? Is this just denying painful emotions by putting on a happy face?
When I was younger I tried hard to “choose joy” in the midst of disappointment. I tried to rejoice in trials like the Bible teaches (Phil. 4:4, James 1:2). I tried to just make a positive decision and put it into action.
But usually, this “choose joy” method didn’t work because my good intentions kept getting overpowered by my habits.
What the Bible actually teaches in the verses above is to rejoice because the Lord is near (Phil. 4:5) and gives generously to everyone (James 1:5).
So I’m not just choosing joy, but I’m choosing the Lord who gives joy.
There are two practices I’ve discovered to be especially helpful for experiencing more of Jesus’ joy:
1. Enthralling your mind with Jesus through Scripture.
Praying God’s word guides and strengthens us to appreciate the manifest goodness, beauty, wisdom, and love of Jesus, Abba, and the Holy Spirit.
2. Being vulnerable with friends and asking for empathy.
Verbalizing your stressors and disappointments with safe friends who offer you a tender heart of compassion can open an artesian spring of joy in your soul. The key to unlocking it is for you to trust God’s grace through your friend’s listening, encouragements, and prayers.
This two-fold rhythm of captivating our thoughts and feelings with Jesus and investing in love one another friendships nourishes our souls and strengthens us to be a blessing to other people.
Sometimes I still get discouraged or have stress reactions. This provides fodder for deeper soul training through confessions and prayers.
Free Christmas Gift!
To help you experience more joy in Jesus and with your loved ones we have a free gift for you called “Christmas Bible Verses to Share.”
For many years in our family, we’ve had a tradition of reading these verses and offering personal comments and requests for prayer. This practice enthralls our minds with Jesus and promotes soul talk.
If you can’t do this in person with a loved one you can share it on social media or a phone call.
We hope this Christmas gift from Soul Shepherding is a blessing for you and your family or friends.
If it would give you joy to donate to support the ministry of Soul Shepherding you can do that on our website: Donate Now.
Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: As a gift to you, this Christmas Bill shares his meditation on John 1. He and Kristi use this fresh re-telling of the birth of Christ to help you know and share God’s wonderful love with your family and friends during this Christmas season.