December 17, 2018

A Joy-Filled Christmas by Lynn Dove

The tree(s) have been up for a couple of weeks now.  The house is decorated and we are experiencing “hygge“, the recently popular Danish expression that goes far beyond the definition of the word.  I can’t help but giggle that in the last couple of years, books have been written here in North America about how to experience “hygge” in your home.  My parents were Danish, so I understand the true spirit of “hygge”.  It truly is a lifestyle, but it’s way more than that, and it’s not just experienced in and around Christmas but throughout the year.

Truly non-Danes do not get it.

Danes, who are known as the “happiest people on earth”, don’t need to write books on “hygge” because it just comes naturally to them.  You’ve either got it, or you don’t.  Reading books on how to attain it, means you probably won’t ever have it.  Sorry.

It is like JOY but goes far, far deeper than the word itself.  You either have it, or you don’t.  You can read books on how to attain it, but if you equate happiness with JOY then you probably won’t ever have it.  Sorry.

You see, JOY is something you have within you, that is not associated in any way with your personal circumstances.  You can have great JOY without experiencing happiness.  Read my series on Finding JOY NOT HAPPINESS.  It goes into great depth about being JOYFUL in spite of hard circumstances.

Christians know that JOY is not associated with personal wealth, health, things, work, or career.  JOY is found in only ONE Person…Jesus.  If you have JESUS, you have JOY.

Some people spend their whole lives trying to discover how to fill that void that only Jesus can fill.  They think work will make them happy, or friends, or family, or possessions, or hobbies, or a host of other things that may give them personal satisfaction or happiness for a little while, but it is all transitory.  None of those things has any kind of staying power.  A job loss, a broken relationship, a health crisis will quickly cause happiness to crumble but great JOY will remain if that person has put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

This Christmas Season as you dash around the malls in search of that perfect gift for that special someone, why not think first about accepting and then sharing a Gift that will last for all time?  It won’t cost you a penny to give or receive, but it is invaluable.  It is JOY wrapped up in a Person.  Accept HIM into your heart and experience the kind of JOY the angels heralded on that night as Mary laid her boy-child into a manger bed.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  (Luke 2:1-14)

Merry Christmas!

(this article was originally published on Journey Thoughts - Dec. 12, 2017)

Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at 


  1. I think I remember reading this previously on Journey Thoughts and I loved it then as much as I do now! Hygge is an interesting concept, and you're right - those of us who have just recently been introduced to the concept don;t entirely 'get it'. but I do appreciate your words here - that knowing jesus is the true source of all JOY> All the best to you and yours Lynn.

  2. Thanks always for your kind words and encouragement, Tracy! Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!

  3. Beautifully said, Lynn. Thank you. Your writing made me think of the Bible quote: "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Looking it up, I found the complete verse which says, "Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) That sounds rather like Christmas. May you have joy this Christmas, Lynn.

    1. Thank-you, Sharon! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  4. I hadn't heard the word or concept of "hygge" until now, so I looked it up. It expresses a mood of joy, comfort, contentment, and togetherness. It could also be derived from the word "hugge," which means "to embrace." These are all apt descriptions of the Christmas spirit. You talked about all of the transitory material things that people think will give them joy, but only our Saviour can give us true internal peace and joy. "Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything" (2 Corinthians 6:10, NLT). Thank you, Lynn, for reminding us of the true joy of Christmas. I wish you and yours a joy-filled Christmas season.


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