And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)

This third week of Advent reminds us of the greatest joy of Christmas: God’s gift of His Son! We read that the angel’s message to the shepherds was one of “good tidings of great joy” (see Luke 2:10). And it serves as a reminder that the Christmas message is one that brings great joy to a world in need.

Leading up to Christmas, the Advent season is filled with “joyful expectation” of Jesus’ birth. But between the start of Advent and all the preparations for Christmas, December can easily become one of the busiest months of the year. And when we get caught up in our busyness, and in our idea of how Christmas is supposed to be, we can lose sight of the reason for the season.

The real joy of Christmas is found when we focus on Jesus. He came into this world, so we could have eternal life with Him and also enjoy every day of our lives while we’re here! (See John 10:10.)

The truth is, joy is a major part of God’s plan for us. Unlike happiness—an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it comes—joy is a choice.

The joy of the Lord is much greater than simply feeling happy. It brings peace and contentment to your soul, even when your circumstances are difficult. Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) says, ...the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Romans 14:17 tells us that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. His joy is part of what God has for our everyday lives! And we can choose to receive and live with that joy even when the list of things to do during this holiday season seems never-ending.

One way to increase your joy is to make a decision. Having joy is not about a feeling; it’s about making a decision to live each day with the joy of the Lord even when you don’t feel like it. During this Christmas season, take some time to pause and reflect on Jesus and then share His joy with others. Make the decision to rejoice!

Another way to increase your joy is to live to give. When you concentrate on helping and giving to others, you will experience more joy in your own life. Be determined each day this week to do at least one thing for someone else that makes their life better. Give a compliment, give something away or take the time to listen. The list is endless.

You Can Enjoy Your Life—Every Day!

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Key Scripture

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

From Joyce

With God's help and your determination, you can learn to be happy and enjoy every single day of your God-given life. Start your days by saying, ‘This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.’ — Joyce

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One of the best ways to be joyful in life is to begin each day with a “think session.” Instead of letting the events of the day shape your perspective, take a few minutes and determine to let the Word of God shape your perspective. This week of Advent is about joy, so make a list of the things that bring you joy during the holidays. Then start each day this week by deciding to think about some of those joyful things…on purpose.