Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 21, 2012

JACKIE DAVIS: Choosing peace & joy at Christmas

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Christmas is coming. Can feel it? Do you see it on the faces of children? Have you seen their excitement — while waiting to see Santa, or hearing their favorite Christmas story?

Have you sung just the right Christmas carol in church or heard one of your holiday favorites on the radio? Have you ‘decked the halls’ with red poinsettias and evergreen wreaths? Have you decorated the tree? Have you found the perfect present for someone you love, or baked a batch of your family’s favorite Christmas cookies? Have you experienced the joy of the ‘holiday spirit’ yet? Have you wished someone a Happy Hanukah, in honor of the Festival of Lights? Christmas is coming. Are you ready?

I must confess to you, that seeking ‘comfort and joy’ this year has been a challenge for me, and no doubt, for numerous others.

So much has happened this month to take our focus off the wonder of the season: The heart of our entire nation goes out to the families that lost loved ones in the school shooting last week. There are still people I know and respect out of work or working among the “under-employed.”

I am grateful, overwhelmed and blessed by the warmth of compassion I have received in honor of the recent loss of my father. Please accept my deepest, heartfelt thanks. We have said a final farewell to a total of seven extended family members this year. There has been constant discussion about the nation going over the ‘fiscal cliff’, and, well, you get the picture.

Like the colors of a masterful painting or the threads of a beautiful tapestry, our lives are interwoven with moments of light and dark, joy and sorrow, peace and pain. These are the moments that shape our character, and develop the essence of who we are.

If we only experience light and happiness, we won’t have the depth of understanding, or empathy for reaching out to others, that compassion requires. If we only focus on darkness and sorrow, we will destroy the light that hope requires, in order to face life moving forward. We become more complete as human beings when we experience both the “highs and the lows” of life.

Sometimes, we must actively choose joy in the middle of life’s storms. We must actively “…seek peace and pursue it” (Ps 34:14). My father’s favorite Bible verse was Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” Trusting in God — no matter what is going on in your life allows you to “give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (I Peter 5:7 NLT).

This week, I found myself more actively seeking the Christ of Christmas joy. The joy started while playing and singing carols around the piano at a friend’s Christmas party. It grew on Sunday morning, while leading a song service filled with carols, with my sons in the worship band. The joy grew to a warm glow while playing music for a children’s Christmas festival in Albion, at the invitation of dear friends Pastor Rich and Joan. The day concluded in a sing-along with a delightful little girl in a red velvet dress — she was like a little Christmas angel sitting beside me. I’ve been finding the “Christmas Spirit” ever since.

I invite you to choose peace and joy this holiday season. It’s possible, with God’s help.

Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with over twenty years of television broadcast experience. You can contact her at jjd.22344@yahoo.com