The simplicity of fruit and nuts in my stocking every year as a child was a subtle and profound reminder of where my family had come from. Furthermore, this simple gift helped re-frame proper priorities about gifts and family. I certainly cherish memories of the surprise gifts that were given in love and out of great sacrifice, but I genuinely appreciate the annual reminders of things that matter more than the Christmas wish list.
If we are honest, all of the hectic schedules and gift exchanges add stress and potentially suck the joy out of the Christmas season. We can work to re-prioritize a healthy perspective on gifts, parties, and more. What is more important is how this exposes the tendency in our life all year to be so wrapped up in worldly pursuits that we rely on ourselves rather than Christ. This pull will inevitably rob us of joy that can only be found in Him.
You can exchange this joy for something that’s going to disappoint, for something that’s going to let you down. Joy is not something that we work on; joy is something that we live in. We are able to experience constant joy because of the presence of God’s Spirit in you (Gal 5:22). Our joy is never generated from the outside in but always from the inside out. We can rejoice not because our circumstances will be worthy of rejoicing but because God will always be worthy to rejoice In.