Christmas joy

Written by Janet Denison
Published on December 21, 2015

How do you celebrate Christmas morning? Young kids often wake Mom and Dad. Or Mom and Dad might wake or wait on their teens. Christmas morning is a time of joy and excitement when kids are running through the house or coming sleepily down the stairs. Christmas is a day we prepare for, anticipate, and celebrate. Christmas is a day for celebrating and for joy.

I was a young mom with toddlers when an older woman told me something important about Christmas. At first, I thought her words were sad and I felt sorry for her. Now, I know her words were wisdom and I am grateful she chose to tell me. This older woman touched my arm, looking at my young sons and said, “Enjoy these Christmas holidays. They are the happiest Christmas mornings of your life.”

I didn’t want to believe her that day. Surely every Christmas grew better than the last. The truth is, every Christmas is celebrated somewhat differently than the last, because our circumstances change with each passing year.

Happiness is produced by what happens. Our “Ninja Turtle” Christmas mornings were filled with an abundance of noise, flying Christmas wrap and squeals of excitement. Those Christmas celebrations developed into moments of closeness as we shared family time, gifts and traditions. Ninja Turtle happiness is replaced with the deeper gifts of joy.

Enjoy every moment of your happy Christmas mornings. You will treasure those memories as you sip coffee and prepare for your kids to return home on the Christmas mornings to come. Those words probably seem sad to some of you, just like that older woman’s words seemed sad to me all those years ago. But happiness isn’t replaced by sadness; happiness is completed by joy.

Joy doesn’t depend on circumstance; joy is a gift of God. Joy is the peaceful sense that life has been lived with God’s purpose and plan. We have our children under our roof for a small percentage of their lives. The vast majority of your children’s lives will be spent in their own homes. So, enjoy your children and invest in them at each stage of their lives.

Your most important job this Christmas will be to help your children have joy in the seasons to come. Joy is the gift of Jesus. The joy of Jesus is the real meaning of Christmas and the glue that will bind your family together in the years to come, even on those Christmas mornings you will spend apart from them. How will you include Jesus in your Christmas holiday? How will you teach your children the value of being a family?

My family spent many Christmas Eve’s at a mission, helping others have a happier holiday. Christmas Day was sweeter knowing we had been able to give others gifts too. We didn’t want our children to think Christmas was only about what they wanted or needed. We included Jesus in our holiday because we wanted our children to understand what Christmas was truly about.

Ninja Turtle Christmases were precious and I smile at the memories. Now, I have the joy of knowing that my children celebrate their holiday with Jesus as well. Enjoy the happy chaos that marks the Christmas mornings spent with toddlers, children, and teens under your roof. They are wonderful celebrations you and your children will remember throughout this lifetime. Every Christmas is different from the last, but each can be joyful when Jesus is honored and celebrated as the most important gift we will ever receive.

All of us who work and write for want to wish you and your families a blessed, holy, and happy Christmas filled with the joy of Jesus.

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Janet Denison

Janet Denison teaches others to live an authentic faith through her writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. She blogs weekly at and often at

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