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Holding onto Christmas Joy

Focus on Joy

Focus on the things that bring you joy

To continue a tradition that I started last year here are some fun and/or sentimental Christmas quotes:

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars, and open a jar of it every month.”
– Harlan Miller

“There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.”  – Bill McKibben

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold; everything is softer and more beautiful.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

“I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included.”
– Bernard Manning.

“You know you’re getting old, when Santa starts looking younger. “ – Robert Paul

“The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” – Johnny Carson

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
– Hamilton Wright Mab

“He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.”
– Sunshine Magazine

Holding onto Christmas Joy

We all have circumstances in life that have the potential to rob us of joy.  Whether it be personal, career, business, political, etc. we all face things that if allowed can shift our focus to things that will rob our joy. Princeton University did an extensive study in 2004 that showed that most joy comes from focusing on what you already have rather than what you lack.

I don’t know what circumstance you’re facing.  I have no idea, but I do know this.  You have a choice.  Is the situation going to rob you of joy?  Are you going to let it steal from you?  Consider Philippians 4:8 which says, “And, now, dear brothers and sisters one final thing, fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  I can be full of joy for this reason, because I can focus on what I have, rather than what I lack.  I can focus on a God who no matter what I go through, He will always be right there with me.

I heard a story a while back about a missionary who lived in China. The missionary heard about a village that was tormented by a gang of bandits.  The bandits went into the village and they burned everything. They burned, they beat up, they raped, and they ruined. It was an ugly, ugly scene.

The Missionary decided he wanted to go there and hope and pray with the people. When he arrived he found a little hymn book with some Christian songs in it, and he said it was all burned except for one line on one page.  And it said this… “Joy to the world.  The Lord has come.” He showed that to the pastor of that village, and the people of the village all began to sing the song together.

He said tears rolled down his face, because of this reason; he said, “I could not believe that these people would sing out, ‘Joy to the world.  The Lord has come.  Let earth receive her King.'”

He said, “Here it is.  They’ve been robbed, raped, some murdered, and yet they’re still in the middle of it saying ‘God, we’re not going to let the circumstances push us away.  We’re going to let the circumstances pull us closer to you.'”

Here’s my challenge to you is this; don’t sell your joy for anything.  Don’t let anything derail you from joy. Commit to hanging on to Christ; decide that you will not sell Him out for anything.  We’re all going to go through circumstances, it’s how you respond to it that makes all the difference.  Let every single circumstance push you closer to God.  Remember this… the Lord is my shepherd, and he’s not going to let you go.

Merry Christmas!

Until Next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  – Philippians 4:4

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Thanksgiving and the Joy of Living

Live Daily With a Heart of Gratitude

In 1921 Pilgrims and members from the Wampanoag tribe came together to give thanks.  They were thankful for a good harvest, they were thankful for the freedom to worship God as they chose, and after such a difficult journey, they were thankful for each day that was given to them. A while back I was reminded of this in my own life, and I wrote about it in the book In Search of Higher Ground

My  good  friend Wes Beavis once said to me, “Chris,remember that the path you are on is a marathon not a sprint, it is a journey not a destination.” He was encouraging  me  at  a  time in my life where I was so  focused on tomorrow that I was not enjoying today. I must admit that I fall into this trap quite often. I will find myself so focused on the future, and as soon as the future becomes the present, I focus on the future again. It is a trap that robs me of the joy of life.  I must constantly be reminded by those  closest to me to keep reaching forward in the race, but don’t forget to enjoy it.

Remember, that although we want to obtain our goals to see our dreams become reality and to be known as a Higher  Ground climber, we must never become so busy with our futures that we forget the present. There are marriages that need to be nurtured and children who desperately need our attention. There are friendships that need to be cultivated, love that needs to grow, and joy that needs to blossom. Our Creator did not make us to be so over burdened by life that it robs us of the joy of living.

I am thankful for my wife and two children, who have a perfect way of lifting me to Higher Ground while keeping my feet on Solid Ground. My wife wants me to succeed, but never allows me to forget what really matters in life. She helps me remember what I always say to others,”No one on their death bed wishes they had spent more time at the office.”  Let me encourage you to keep reaching for Higher Ground, but never forget to water your own ground – the ground you call home, family, and friends. Water them with your love and affection, and your journey to the top will never lack the joy your life was meant to have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until Next Time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.
– Edward Sandford Martin