Something that I feel I overlook every year in the Christmas story, is the praising Mary and the shepherds do after going to tell the town about Jesus’s birth. They are excited by all the things that they know God is going to do through this child. Truthfully these two verses are ones that I actually had forgotten were included within the Christmas story, but they are important. Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for all we talk about that I find people not experiencing tons of joy during this time.

Being in college, I always dread this time of year because I get much busier than usual, and often feel drained rather than joyous. Everybody can probably easily think of at least a few reasons to be stressed and tired that come from this season. Whether it is from figuring out gifts for everyone, class finals, scheduling family celebrations, or any number of other things, they become our focus too often.

The Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds had plenty of reasons to be nervous or tired, but they still praise God. The shepherds could have focused on their sheep, Mary and Joseph could have stewed on the lack of room in the town, and today we could focus on the struggles that come with this time; or we could choose to focus on the things that bring us joy. I do this by taking time while driving to work or class by putting on my favorite Christmas song, “Love is Christmas” by Sara Bareilles, and for the whole duration listen to the lyrics and name all the things that are bringing me joy.

Take a moment to listen and count with me:

by Owen Wholer