We’d like to give a warm welcome today to Michelle Hicks. You may have met her in November on the blog when we did a month of giveaways. Michelle leads the team responsible for producing all the women’s Bible studies you know and love, like James, Nehemiah, Malachi and more.
Finding Joy in January
The days are shorter. The nights are colder. The Christmas tree is back in the attic. The lights and decorations are stored in boxes for another year. The celebrations that rush at us with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are over for now. And although the fresh start and promise of the new year often brings high hopes and great expectations, many of us may face a slump.
Many people may feel a sense of loss or even seasonal depression as they begin January. For me it is this feeling and longing for something to celebrate. In our family, we start celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday on September 21st and don’t stop jumping from one celebration or holiday to another until after another daughter’s birthday on January 2nd. After so much celebration it is understandable that someone would feel a sense of disappointment when it all ends.
So how does one get out of the slump? How do we combat the winter blues? Where do we find hope? How do we revive that sense of expectancy in the every day? How can we find joy in January?
I began digging in scripture for a word of hope or verses on discovering joy as the downward spiral began pulling upon me this year. In my search I found it interesting that God provided all kinds of celebrations, festivals, and feasts for His people as a way to help them remember His great acts of salvation.
Here were some celebrations if you want to do a little digging into scripture yourself.
- Sabbath (Lev.23:1-3; Gen. 2:3; Exod. 20:8-11)
- New Moon (Num.28:11-15)
- Passover (Exod. 12:11,21,27,43,48) also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod. 23:15; Deut. 16:16
- Feast of Weeks (Exod.34:22; Deut. 16:10,16; 2 Chron. 8:13)
- The Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:1-34; Num. 29:7-11)
- Feast of Tabernacles (2 Chron. 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zech. 14:16)
- Feast of Trumpets or modern day Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:24-27)
- Purim (Esther 9:16-32) commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from genocide
- Hanukkah or Feast of Dedication (John 10:22)
- Sabbatical Year (Exod. 23:10-11; Lev. 25:2-7; Deut. 15:1-11; 31-10-13)
- Year of Jublilee (Ezek. 46:17; Lev. 25:8-16,23-55)
Ultimately, I was reminded that God wants His people to remember He is their Deliverer. He is their salvation. He is their rest, and peace, and hope. He is their reason for celebrating. He is everything they need. He is everything I need. He is God!
The celebrations are just reminders of His greatness, His power, His purposes, and His plans. But more than remembering the celebrations, God wants His people to remember Him. Luckily, remembering Jesus daily doesn’t require balloons, party hats, gifts, or a specific celebration. Joy is possible – regardless of the season or our circumstances. It may sound simple, but finding joy in January (or anytime of the year) happens when we keep our focus on Christ.
How do you find joy in January? How do you depend upon God and His word to lift you up during the difficult seasons of life? How is God instilling hope and peace in you as you begin the new year?
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13