A page from my Joy Journal:
This day started out pretty much the same as any other, but changed for the better when our daughter brought her two kids, ages five and one, to stay with us while she went Christmas shopping. With so much to do and very much behind schedule on everything, I was a little nervous about giving up the day to babysitting, but decided there was nothing I could do but make the best of it. I promised myself I’d somehow make up for it later. I’m afraid I’d forgotten that Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time.
For the past several years, the holidays had meant nothing to me but work, worry and rush, rush, rush causing me to lose sight of any happiness to be found in them. Instead, I simply found myself eager to get the whole ordeal behind me as quickly and painlessly as possible!
But this afternoon, I suddenly realized that my heart was overflowing with joy and Christmas spirit! I found myself in the kitchen baking cookies while Christmas carols blared on the CD player. Adding to my happiness was excited chatter coming from the living room where my husband and young grandson were decorating the Christmas tree together.
“This is what it’s all about,” I said; “family, carols playing, the sweet smell of cookies baking and sounds of delight from a grandchild at the decorating of the tree. It’s not about all that other stuff—spending a lot of money trying to get the most expensive and impressive gifts, or working yourself to death to make a ‘perfect’ Christmas—it’s not that!”
Christmas spirit is not something you find on Christmas Day after you’ve worn yourself to a frazzle getting there! The principle is the same as the one for life: It’s not the destination that’s most important; it’s the journey! It’s right now! This moment!
When my daughter came home, she found two happy kids with cookie crumbs on their hands and faces, a lit Christmas tree, and a relaxed, smiling mother—very unlike the one she’d left her kids with a few hours earlier.
Isn't it amazing - the influence two small children can have on an adult?
Now that the Christmas season is here again, I hope I can remember my own advice when I feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Since the kids are much older now and we don’t babysit them much, perhaps I can make a habit of reading this entry in my Joy Journal every day.