Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Two things you need to know about me. One, I love coffee. Like really love coffee. I used to drive 35 minutes in traffic to get the best cup of coffee I could find. LOVE coffee.
Second, I have worked my entire adult life, 18 years, in the retail and service industry. I have seen some pretty rough Christmas shopping seasons. But I still love Christmas, and coffee.
At the beginning of November an alarming thing started creeping across my social media feeds. The Starbucks holiday red cup had come out, and to much dismay it was exactly that… red.
No snowmen, no snowflakes, not even a cheery holiday phrase. Just red. The Christian twitter-verse exploded. People were upset at the lack of holiday cheer, some people were upset at people being upset at the lack of holiday cheer.
It made me stop and think for a moment. Do we as Christians truly display a spirit of thanksgiving? Even if the red cup controversy didn’t upset you, think about how many day to day trivial things we get fired up about. I would daresay that many of us have had our spirit of thanksgiving replaced by a spirit of offense and worry.
I am guilty of this too. As I enjoyed my latest Starbucks skinny peppermint mocha, in all of its offensive redness, I made a choice not to be offended. Not to be upset over things that don’t matter for eternity. To not be upset when lost people act lost.My worry, angst and graceless response to things needs to change and be gone.
Thanksgiving cannot just be a holiday, it has to reflect in the condition of our hearts.
The Apostle Paul says to us,
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!
It says in The Message for to “revel in Him”. That tells me we should be singing, dancing and shouting for joy! But we can’t revel if we are too busy worrying. This is not just Paul’s suggestion for a holiday. He is telling us to live a joy filled life; so full of the joy of the Lord, that it splashes out and touches those around us.
But how? Rejoice? In a world full of violence, anger and fear. We should rejoice?
Yes. Even in the midst of fear, hatred and sorrow. Rejoice. Why?
Because it is NOT rejoice in the fear. Its NOT rejoice in everything. We are not to rejoice in the positive, or in spite of the negative. BUT we are to rejoice in the Lord, because He is the unwavering constant love in a world full of fear and hate and worry.
Back to those red cups. My local Starbucks gave me a few to play with. And I got a great idea. How we respond depends how our problems and offenses look to us. Check this out.
View things through a lens of love. Our offenses, our troubles our issues. A few cheap stickers on a cup added some Christmas flair. But when we look at things through the joy of God, our problems also appear smaller, not gone, but under His control.
I want to challenge us all this season of joy and everyday after, to rejoice in the Lord. Choose to respond in the Spirit, in love. Let all fear and worry go, rejoice in the unwavering love of God.