Today’s message is from Pastor Pam Sutherland of the St. Paul United Methodist Church & Fort Gibson United Methodist Church.
As I turned on my car radio this past Monday morning I was sad to realize that Christmas Carols were no longer being played. The station I listen to has been playing Christmas Carols since the day after Halloween and I, for one, have enjoyed every minute of it! I’ve been singing along in my car, at home, in the stores – wherever Christmas music has been playing. Dancing too. I bet the ones who monitor the cameras in the stores were saying “look at that crazy old lady dancing and singing in the aisle!” That’s okay. I hope it gave them a laugh or at least made them smile. It gave me great joy to sing and dance to those lively tunes.
Some of the conversations I’ve been a part of these last couple of months have centered around memories of past holidays. Some were joyful memories, others sad. Some were quite eventful, and others rather quiet. Some memories involved traveling to see various family members, others involved visits to hospital emergency rooms. Some involved seeing a loved one for the first time after years apart, some involved losing a loved one and facing a first Christmas without them.
Our lives are always changing. Children grow up. We grow old. Nothing stays the same forever. We have happy times and sad times throughout our lives. We don’t always have control over that. But joy is something we can choose. That is why I sing and dance whenever and wherever the mood strikes me. We can choose to be joyful because there is one thing that is constant in our ever-changing lives – God’s love. He loves us in the good times. He loves us in the bad times. He is always right there with us to give us comfort, hope, strength, peace, and joy, if only we will let Him. God wants us to be “joyful in hope” (Romans 12:12). Have you taken time during this busy season to let His joy into your life? Have you asked Him to fill you with His joy even in the difficult times?
On of my favorite verses in Scripture is Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV):
What a beautiful picture! Can you just imagine God, the Mighty One, rejoicing over you with singing? He does! As I am singing and dancing my way through the house, in the stores, or riding down the road, I like to think we are making music together and my cup of joy overflows!
Christmas music may be over, but I will sing along with the music I love and continue to rejoice with the Lord! What about you? Will you sing and rejoice with the Lord as you face whatever changes this New Year will bring?
Grace and peace (and joy!),