We’re less than a week away from the new year and I’m ready. 2016 had lots of new starts for me and taught me lots of lessons. I’m looking forward to a 2017 that in many ways is better than 2016 and contains opportunities to implement what I learned in 2016. As we finish out the month and the year this week I want to take one last spiritual look at our topic of the month: joy. It’s a great month to talk about this topic because we’ve celebrated Christmas and are in the midst of celebrating Hanukkah as well if that’s your holiday. We take this month to celebrate the year we’re putting behind us and the people in our lives, no matter how often we see them, or whether or not we tell them what they mean to us.
As we head towards the finish line of this year, let’s consider James 1:2-4: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
If you’ve been tested this year I encourage you to not give up. Faith isn’t a guarantee of a stress-and-problem-free life, it’s a guarantee that you’ve got Someone going with you through everything, and the promise of something great at the end for those who believe and are saved. Second, look for the joy. Sometimes it’s obvious that there’s joy happening around you and there are things to celebrate. Other times you have to look a little harder to find it or make the joy yourself.
If you’re looking for some joy, we do have the new year just a few days away with 365 new days to find joy, but in all honesty each and every day is a new opportunity for you to find, create and share some joy. So if you’re facing trouble or you meet someone who is facing trouble, I encourage you to not get dragged down by the challenges but instead to look for or share joy. Even just choosing to share joy with someone in need can help you through your challenge as well.