joy ornament

I know it is getting closer to the Christmas season, which may be causing you stress.

You might be fretting about money or gifts or meeting unreasonably high expectations for yourself.

You are probably worried about making everyone “happy”.

Well, stop it.

Give yourself a simpler task – focus on bringing people JOY.

Yes, there is a difference.

Can you see it?

Happiness is a temporary feeling.  It is often dictated by what is happening around us or what we have.  So many marriages dissolve too soon because people feel they aren’t “happy” anymore.  Happiness: that superficial lightness that comes when “everything is going right”.

Happiness isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing.

But joy…….joy is a GREAT thing.

Joy is a deep warm glow that lasts.  It comes from deep within you.  And it often comes when we stop focusing on ourselves and start looking outward.

Joy doesn’t come to your family through an immaculately decorated home.  It comes through an evening spent together playing games or watching funny movies and eating popcorn.

Joy doesn’t come to your kids by spending all of your money (and some belonging to the bank) on gifts.  It comes through a small number of thoughtful gifts… “coupons” to spend time together doing an activity of their choosing.  It comes through writing them a long letter wrapped in ribbon, telling them all of the reasons you love them and are proud of them.  Maybe it even comes through going shopping together for toys you will donate to a children’s charity.

Joy may come to you by cooking a delicious meal, as long as you do it without stress.  Remember….joy doesn’t come from trying to impress people.  It comes from feeding them healthy food, sitting around the table and sharing stories and laughter.  Imagine it….you could bring joy to those around you even if you did it on paper plates, with simple food, cheap wine, store bought pie and music in the background.  It’s about the people, sharing time together and feeling a sense of belonging.

Do you understand what I am talking about?  We have all felt happiness at one time or another….but have you ever felt real joy?

You will know it when you feel it.  It is a warm glow that starts as a little flame deep in your soul.  I can’t explain it any other way.

It is when you feel a real sense of peace.  Compassion.  Kindness.  Connection to others.

And it has nothing to do with a house or a job or money or affluence.  If you haven’t felt it in awhile, go volunteer for a charity or spend quality time with people you care about – who know and love the real you.  That will be a good start.

So as you head into this crazy holiday season, remember this: You can find peace…if you focus on joy.