Having a less stressful and more joyful holiday season may be as simple as opening the “true gifts” of Christmas found by reading the Bible, suggests a Tennessee pastor.
Church strategy consultant Ron Edmondson, who is a co-founding pastor at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, told The Christian Post that there is not a “secret formula” to finding great joy. It’s really a matter of obeying Scripture.
“It seems to me that many believers, and nonbelievers, get distracted with the busyness of Christmas and miss its true meaning,” he said. “In the season intended to bring ‘Joy to the World’ we spend more energy seeking gratification from gifts that bring us temporary happiness, but often fail to ‘open’ the true gifts of Christ.”
Edmondson gave five suggestions for greater joy during Christmas in a Sunday message series called “Unwrapped,” which began earlier this month.
He also blogged about the message and began his post by quoting Scripture:
“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.’” - Luke 2:10-11
In his post “5 Suggestions for Finding More Joy at Christmas,” Edmondson states, “Joy is not an option for a believer, as I read the Scriptures. For many, however, finding joy at Christmas is harder than other times of the year. Memories of loved ones, financial struggles, health issues, and relationship woes often make for a very difficult celebration.”
To combat holiday stress and increase joy, Edmonson’s suggestions are:
“Lower expectations of others – We shouldn’t hold others to expectation we set for them. People, even the best of people, will disappoint us.
Increase your investment in others – Something supernatural happens when we share with others. We are to give and extend grace, as it was given to us.
Examine your life and address known sin – You can’t have joy with a holy God if you are living contrary to His desires for your life.
Change your perspective – Choosing to be greatly joyful is not based on circumstances, but comes by perspective.
Set your eyes on the prize – If you’re struggling to find joy in life, set your eyes on Jesus; the author and perfecter of your faith.”
Edmondson said that if there is any word that captures the mood and the spirit of Christmas best, it’s the word “joy.”
“It’s a word that means despite any circumstances in your life you have joy,” he explained. “This is supposed to be a joyous season. Jesus came so that we could experience joy. Not always happiness, but joy, this inner contentment, this calm delight.”
“Find the proper perspective and you will find the joy. That perspective is to be [joyful] regardless of our circumstances,” he said.
Grace Community Church states on its website’s “What We Believe” page that the “Church is the body of Christ in the world today. The members of the Church are those who trust by faith the finished work of Christ. The mission of the church is to make disciples. Grace Community Church personalizes this concept: Our mission is to lead the families of Montgomery County to become growing followers of Jesus.”