Make Room for Joy
3rd Sunday of Advent

You may be packing your BAGS to travel for the holidays, but leave your BAGGAGE behind.
Let go of negativity and free yourself to receive Christmas joy.

Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.

Luke 2:4-5 (CEB)

Just as Mary and Joseph traveled to his hometown, so, too, do many of us travel during Christmas as well. We journey near and far to gather with family and friends, some of whom we may not see at any other time of year.

For infrequent travelers, the idea of getting on an airplane or packing the car can seem overwhelming. Where is that suitcase? Is this too big to be a carry-on? Do we have everything the kids will need? How will we travel with the gifts we’ll give and later return with the ones we’ll receive?

Many of us will overpack, only to realize later we didn’t need to take everything with us.

In our everyday lives, we can also carry a lot of negative, emotional “baggage.” Anger about that event long ago still travels with us. Hurt from a difficult relationship always seems nearby. Internal struggles about money, time, and other resources are held onto. We need to pack lighter.

When we carry too much, we hinder our ability to receive. Our hands must be empty to embrace the joy of Christ, and to receive love from our neighbors, friends, and family.

  • Do you tend to overpack? What might you leave behind?
  • What good things have you missed because you were clutching onto something else?
  • What negativity do you need to release?
  • How will you make room for joy this Christmas?

Prayer: O God, grant me the strength and courage to carry less “baggage” this Christmas.