My nickname at work is “Joy” because I jokingly say to my co workers that “I bring the joy” to the office by hosting a basket of candy and treats at my desk. Like everyone else though, I’ve experienced my fair share of pain too. This season has been an especially difficult one for me to remain joyful in. From work stresses to parenting struggles everything started to go wrong all at once and then Jeff came down with pneumonia Thanksgiving week. I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I had lost my joy. I had reached the point where I felt responsible for so many things that the weight of the world seemed to be resting on my shoulders. I felt like I had nothing else to give and for the first time in five years I took a hiatus from this blog. I tried so many ways to find joy and peace again. I tried taking supplements, I tried working out, I tried massages, I tried reading books. But it was Nahum 1:7 that gave me strength “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him”. I trusted in that and I prayed. God was gracious. Around mid December Jeff finally started feeling better, Luke started getting outstanding behavior at school and the pressure from work was relieved. The nagging pain in my shoulders and neck finally went away and I decided to take the last two weeks of the year off. I remembered that Joy is not something that can ever be truly lost because it is not dependent upon circumstances. Joy springs from within because of the hope we have in Christ despite our circumstances and that hope is eternal. One of my favorite Psalms says “Restore to me the joy of my salvation”. Joy that springs from the knowledge that the Messiah who was promised to us has in fact come to Earth and paid a ransom for us with his very life is a joy that cannot be shaken because it is unchanging. “Joy to the World” has always been one of my favorite Christmas carols, but this Christmas it is a precious reminder that in His presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore because he is Emmanuel, God with us. Merry Christmas!