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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jolly Old Saint Who?

People rarely use the word “Jolly” outside of Christmas.  So what does it mean to “Be Jolly”?  

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Jolly as:  

1.   Full of high spirits: Joyous
2.   Given to conviviality:  Jovial
3.   Expressing, suggesting, or inspiring gaiety: cheerful
4.   Extremely pleasant or agreeable

I think all those definitions describe a “Jolly Santa Clause”, don’t you?  

I think all those definitions identify the “spirit of Christmas”, don’t you?

"Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.  to cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."  Calvin Coolidge 

As I read the descriptions of Jolly, I can’t help but wonder why we relegate Jolly to one season of the year?  Isn’t it something so wonderful we should try to “Be Jolly” all year round?  

Why is that such a difficult state of being to maintain?  

Are we scared of staying Jolly?

By limiting Jolly to one season, are we somehow giving ourselves an excuse for occasional (or frequent) bad attitudes the rest of the year?  

Have you ever known someone who exemplified being Jolly all year?  

I have known a few, but I have known far more Scrooges.  I’m not talking about REAL Scrooges, mean people who are selfish and short sighted to the needs of those around them.  I’m talking about good people who get bogged down with the cares of the world and they don’t exhibit Joy or Cheerfulness, they are not agreeable nor do they inspire others by how they handle the stresses of life.  

Being jolly year round doesn’t require a belief in Santa Clause; it requires a belief in Jesus Christ.  Only through him can we maintain an attitude of being Jolly.  Christ changes how we view tough situations, he changes how we respond to worldly pressures and he motivates us to live beyond our circumstances.  Through him we can always be in “high spirits” because we have his Spirit dwelling within, giving us unspeakable joy that overflows for all to see.  

But knowing Christ isn’t enough, we have to be moving forward in our Spiritual growth.  If we are not moving forward, we are going backward.  

Think about when you first fell in love.  You couldn’t wait to spend EVERY moment with that special someone, you went out of your way to please them, and you lost sleep just to be near them. 

A relationship with Christ should be the same.  It shouldn’t be burdensome, it shouldn’t be a chore to spend time with our Savior and it shouldn’t be something we squeeze into our day.

I’m as guilty as the next person of treating my Lord and Savior this way.  

But as I think upon the definition of Jolly, I realize I want to be Jolly year round.  I want people to see the Spirit of Christmas in me 365 days a year. 

After all, I have the Spirit of Christ in me and Christmas is a time of celebrating his life and love.  I want to celebrate him daily, as his Spirit within me burns to shine.  I hope you do too!  

Question:  Do you know anyone who encourages you to be more Jolly and why?  

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