Falling Toward Joy

Alexandra Kuykendall
How 10 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Christmas 

Hope, Love, Joy and Peace are the themes of the season. At church services around the world candles are being lit this month in honor of these holiday virtues.

And yet if we’re wanting to mark our actual feelings, we might as well be lighting candles for Stress, Debt, Chaos and Exhaustion. Because the season is full of expectations; mostly ones that we put on ourselves, and then we wonder why we feel like we’re missing something.

It’s in large part because we are. We are missing the essence of the holiday. Buried under the wrapping paper we are forgetting that the holiday we celebrate every year is meant to bring our hearts great joy. It’s not about stockings and cookies and gifts. Though those things can be very fun. It’s about something much deeper. Our humanity.

We are living in a time of hurt – families separated by distance and conflict, political lines and hard stances. In the midst of our hard-edged hearts we must remember the story. The story of God coming as the Prince of Peace for all of humankind’s hurts. The big issues and our own heartaches.

It’s for this very reason that we celebrate Christmas every year. Because we need to remember the story. Our hearts need to remember. It doesn’t take a big budget or any budget at all really. It takes a commitment to remembering the story despite our busy schedules.

As you settle into the weeks of extra stress, set aside 10 minutes a day to simply remember.

  • Light a candle and pray for the world.
  • Read Luke chapter 2 or Matthew chapters 1 and 2 from the Bible.
  • Play a few classic Christmas carols while you sit in the glow of your lights.
  • Act out the Christmas story with your children. Allow them to try different roles. How does it feel to be Mary? Joseph? The donkey? Stuffed animals and puppets make great actors your children can direct. Remembering the story is not just for you, it’s for them too.
  • Write down five gifts you’d like to thank God for. The more active we are in searching out God’s handiwork, the more likely we are to see him in our everyday.

We are working to remember. Our souls need the story. The practice of stopping and anticipating what we celebrate on Christmas will pivot our focus from what we need to do to what we already have – the gift of God with us.

Alexandra Kuykendall
As a mom to four girls, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She is the author of Loving My Actual Life, An Experiment In Relishing What’s Right In Front of Me and The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir. A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.