Joy is the result of a decision to love and love is a choice. They come in that order. Love then joy then peace. When you chose to love, you will find joy and peace in the process. I may not have worded that in the best fashion possible but if you read it again, it may give you the road map to finding what we all want, which is to be in peace and full of joy.
For many, this time of year has difficult memories from the past. Also for many, they are dealing with sickness of a family member, health issues, financial strain, broken relationships and hurt. For the ones who are in this position, it is difficult to plan for Christmas dinners and family gatherings because they feel their life is seemingly on hold and occupied with these issues.
So the question is, when should you choose joy? I believe if God could have a one-on-one conversation with you, he would tell you to always choose joy. Choosing to be thankful and acting in love is not a casual decision, nor is it the result of circumstances. It is the deep understanding that you as a person will make better decisions with love and joy in your heart than you will without them. It is the most basic outward expression of your faith in a God that knows every single thing going on in your life. He is just waiting on you. It is like you are saying to God, I am ready to let go, please come and help me.
If your most difficult decision and cause of stress this holiday season is choosing where to shop and what to buy, read the second paragraph again and be thankful for where you are in life and pray for those who are not. KT