We fell back into our usual routine today, five weeks after we broke for Christmas. The girls cracked open their school books, dishes littered my kitchen counter, as I ignored the necessary washing, in exchange for helping with math problems and reading that extra chapter.
I miss Christmas.
I know, I know…so does everyone. Well, maybe not everyone. I realize there are some who don’t derive as much excitement, from December 25th, as I do. Still, I wish Christmas music was playing and my heart of celebration was full. It can’t always be, not in the same way at least. It’s like I tell my children (when they question if they can keep alllllll the toys they’ve ever been given), “If everything is special, nothing is.”
It can’t be Christmas all the time, but we can keep the spirit of it. I am endeavoring to do that in small and large ways, beginning with the pursuit of joy in the most simplistic and ordinary moments. I believe that in the past three years, I have let joy slip away. It’s not that I’m not happy….it’s that I become burdened too easily and slink into a state of despondency. Often times it is warranted. Things have been difficult. My natural inclination slides towards depression and I have struggled heavily with darkness since I was an older child. I won’t go into details about that – I’m not even sure I understand myself enough to share anything helpful – but I do know that I must reclaim joy. For my own survival, for my children, and husband. For the Lord because He implores me to rejoice (even when my constitution says otherwise – James 1:2-3, Romans 15:13, 1 Peter 1:8-9, Psalm 30:5.)
On days like today, it’s rather easy to find joy.
It’s raining (one of my very favorite things), my girls enjoyed our first day back to school, we learned quite a bit, and have two houseguests who are bringing whimsy to some more mundane moments. I even have a bowl of Pho planned for dinner, which I can already taste. My insides are warm just thinking of it. Maybe a movie tonight. Some moments of peace, on the couch, with my people. Easy joy.
But there are many moments where joy is work. It seems to me (and I believe this must just be the season of life we are in) that heaviness is hitting everyone I know. Joy can be difficult. But, I am pursuing it. Asking the Lord for it – thinking about it so I may turn my attention to the beautifully sacred task of living on this earth – all for the glory of the Lord. He will use my moments of affliction and He will provide joy. I trust that.
But I will seek it out.
And enjoy a warm bowl of Pho. That can’t hurt either.
If you struggle with depression or love someone who does, I can’t recommend this book enough. Please consider buying it and learning more about yourself or loved one. It was a game changer for me and, surprisingly, brought me much joy.
This sermon series on joy is wonderful.
Here is a vast collection of writings on the topic of joy.