By Shawn Carter
Meadows of Dan Baptist Church
After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays have gone and the cold winter days keep us confined to the cozy indoors, we find it difficult to maintain the enthusiasm we had during the many Christmas parties or the frenzy of shopping sprees and the unending show of holiday cheer. For many, the cold dark gray days of winter can lead to the blahs or bouts of depression and to them the joy of life fades. I would like to share some Biblical insights with the readers that will help you face those gray times in your life.
Just as January represents a time of new beginnings, we should know that with God we always have a way of starting over. And there is nothing quite as exhilarating as starting from a clean slate. Did you know that God hands us a clean slate every day? In the words of the prophet we hear: It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness, Lamentations 3:22-23. In the dark times know that things are not ending but rather you can joyfully plan your days ahead.
During the cold weather months we tend to get into routines which keep us inside our warm environments. Often, those habits lead to spending less time with our friends or family. We were created to have contact with others and part of our happiness is directly related to such interactions. In the Jewish and Christian culture spending time with each other is one of the main themes seen in Scripture. If you begin to find yourself feeling blah, reach out to a friend and meet for a meal or coffee. One key to reclaiming joy is spending time interacting with others.
Another, great way to have joy in our own life is helping others with their needs. Galatians 5:13 says, For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. To serve others takes our eyes off of ourselves and our long days. I know several folks who make get well soon cards or funny sayings cards at home then deliver them to shut-ins or anyone in need of them. The point is to focus on the needs of others, and help them the best way you can. This concept could be best summed up by Jesus himself when he told us that one of the greatest commandments of God is to love others just as we love our selves Matthew 22:39.
If you are like me, the older I get the more the cold weather bothers me physically. Therefore, it is harder to take walks or just get out doors. But I highly recommend taking a night walk or just set on the deck upon a clear night. One night last year, I bundled up and went outside to see God’s creation. Immediately, I was engulfed by the splendor and power of the Lord’s hand. All I could do at that moment was sing and give Him praise. The song that came to mind is “I got joy down in my heart, deep, deep down my heart.” I came away from that time feeling joyful and grateful for all He has done for me.
Finally, the only way we can have true joy in our hearts is to have Jesus abiding there. Jesus spoke these words in John15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Our hearts can have the peace with God it desires through Jesus Christ. Not only can we have peace with, God but we can have joy that comes from having our sins forgiven and remembered no more.
If you have not asked Jesus to come into your heart, please do so today. Being a pastor I have had several people ask me the following question, “How can I ask Jesus into my heart and life?” My reply is found in Romans 10, which says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
In closing, my prayer for you today is that your joy will be full, and this winter will be the best start of your life. You have so much to live for and so much to offer the world. So get started today by keeping joy in your heart during the dark days of winter.