Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I get silly childhood butterflies in my stomach when I set up my tree and decorate my apartment and feel so excited for each day of Advent. I look forward to Christmas Eve, reading “One Wintry Night” by Ruth Bell Graham, and waking up the next morning in my family’s home by the fireplace. There doesn’t need to be any presents…just that wonderful, warm feeling of happiness and contentment and joy that I can never shake this time of year.

Everything just seems so beautiful right now. The lights, the glittering decorations, the smells of baking and holiday candles (or in my case, diffusing essential oil holiday blends 😉 ) just seem brighter, more alive somehow this year. And I have a hunch that maybe it’s because I’m so grateful for my life. I am 27369_Gift_and_Ornamentsdetermined to soak it all in and enjoy every minute. I’ve never been so happy to be alive than now.

I had a friend send me a beautiful quote this morning that read, “Happiness is joy in circumstances. The Christian is often happy, but joy in the Holy Spirit is an overflow from the nature of God into your nature. It rises above sufferings and circumstances. Though sorrowful, you always can be rejoicing (2 Cor. 6:10). Your sorrow turns to joy (John 16:20). No one can take your spiritual joy away from you (John 16:22).”

Joy despite your circumstances. I won’t ever truly understand why I’ve had to go through fire this year, but I know that God has never left my side through it all. The footprints of this journey He has me on are firmly planted, sure steps of unwavering faith and trust. It’s like that story we’ve heard so many times- “When you only saw one set of footprints, that’s when I carried you.”

As we move into this season of celebrating Jesus’s birth, His ultimate sacrifice and unfailing love for a dying world, bringing HOPE…I’m choosing joy because of what He has put in my heart- and that’s beyond anything this world can do to me.