Well … here we are. Monday. After a weekend. After a holiday. After. After. OK stop! It’s tough, isn’t it? We’ve just been through a month of anticipation, weeks of excitement, days of planning, and hours of celebration with people we love, all special moments etched in our memories. Maybe you’re glad it’s over and can’t wait to get back to your routine. Maybe your idea of a quiet weekend spent at home really means q-u-i-e-t and Christmas holiday festivities does not qualify. Whether you’re tenaciously hanging onto the season with firmly cemented memories or eagerly shaking it off, ready to break free and get back to normal, here are some thoughts to take with you.
If there’s a topic that’s got everybody talking it’s about boxing up Christmas and along with it, the 2014 year. My inbox is overflowing with ‘Tips to wrap up 2014’, ‘How to finish the year strong’, ‘How to make 2015 better than 2014’, ‘2014 in Review’. I think about that too. I wrote our Annual Letter last night, always timed to be delivered after January 1st of the New Year. There’s no reason other than it’s the best way I know how to send JOY to get the year started. Like right now, for example.
You know, Third John, as a go-to scripture is pretty obscure. I don’t think anyone has ever directed me to any of the 15 verses, but there is something about this heart message that seems meaningful for this new day, this new week, this day when we say good-bye to the weekend and merge back into normal. You can read the full chapter of 3 John, but I hope these few excerpts touch your heart with joy and give you hope.
Dear friend[s], I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. You demonstrate faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers, even though they are strangers. They have told everyone about your love … We must support people like them, so that we can take part in what they are doing to spread the truth. Don’t copy the evil deeds of others! Follow the example of people who do kind deeds. They are God’s children. I pray that God will bless you with peace!
It’s funny that in verse 13, the writer (probably the Apostle John) writes these words “I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink.” I guess that’s what I’m thinking too. I have so much more to say to you, but here’s what I really want you to know. The way to joy isn’t through reading what other people say. All the articles on ending the year strong, or planning for success in the New Year, will not bring joy. Devouring devotionals written by wise Bible teachers is admirable, but that will not bring you joy. Joy isn’t a feeling we get when everything is going our way. Joy can be a feeling of happiness, but real joy is having an attitude of contentment, gratitude, and yes, even happiness that is not dependent on circumstances. Joy is complete trust in God and freedom from fear. Joy is recognizing God – just recognizing God for who he is. Whether you read this at 8:00 am or 8:00 pm, I hope it brings peace to your heart and joy to your spirit.