Joyce sitting at a desk in a red shirt with a green background.

Christmas With Joyce! A Holiday Q&A

Christmas lights are twinkling, holiday tunes are streaming, and we’re all getting ready to celebrate the good news of Jesus’ birth. In the midst of it all, Joyce took some time to talk about the reason for the season and a few of her favorite holiday traditions.

Joyce, what's your favorite thing about Christmas?

Jesus! He’s the whole reason why we celebrate, and the one thing we need to stay focused on the most. Sometimes we can end up frustrating ourselves if we try and do too many things for Christmas. So, we just need to get better at making Jesus the main thing.

Do you and Dave have a favorite Christmas movie?

My favorite has to be It's a Wonderful Life. I know a lot of people watch it every year and I don’t do that; I probably watch it once every couple of years. But my husband, Dave, loves this movie and others like it. He really enjoys Hallmark Christmas movies, and he’d probably watch them all year round if he could. He even likes to watch them when they have Christmas in July!

Once in a while, we’ll watch a Hallmark movie together, but not very often. With my personality, I need a little mystery—and I feel like I always know how they're going to end five minutes after they start.

What’s your best tip for reducing holiday stress?

Traditions are such a wonderful part of Christmas, but I think sometimes we need to be flexible and be willing to change a tradition if it’s causing too much stress in our lives. We don’t want to do something simply because it’s the way things have always been done.

For example, I know a big part of Christmas traditions is baking and cooking and decorating cookies. Well, I have never done that because I never really had the time or the gifting for it. So, if there’s anyone out there like me, I have a message for you: You don’t have to bake cookies if you don’t want to.

It really is all about Jesus. We need to take that pressure off ourselves and others to do things the way they’ve always been done.

How have your holiday traditions changed over the years?

Well, when Dave’s mom was alive, we’d go to her house on Christmas Eve. She had a big family, and everyone would visit and stay up late and then we’d all go to a midnight church service. We did that for years.

After that, everybody came to our house on Christmas Eve. We’d start at 10 in the morning with a lot of gift-giving and eating and more eating and laughing and talking, and people would stay as long as they wanted. When our kids got married, they’d spend part of the day with us and part of the day with their in-laws. That way, they could spend Christmas Day at home with their kids.

Now we have grown grandchildren, and some of them have jobs and need to work on Christmas Eve. So, we’ve moved our celebration to the Sunday before Christmas. And at some point during the Christmas season, my adult children will come over to have a quiet meal and exchange gifts.

You know, it’s good to have that quality time together. But it’s even more important to keep your focus on Jesus because things don’t always go according to our plans—and if your eyes are on Jesus, then you’re going to have a peaceful holiday.

Christmas shouldn’t be a time of arguments and strife. It should be a peaceful, happy time of year.

Do you like to shop for gifts at Christmas?

Yes, I love to shop and give gifts—and not just for my family. I really enjoy blessing people who are in financial need. God showed His love for us through giving the gift of Christ at Christmas—and that’s the best gift ever.

I want my gifts to be something that somebody is really going to use. So, if I know something that somebody wants, then I will go get it. But nowadays, a lot of people would rather get a gift card. So, I give those out more often than I used to.

I think when we give and receive gifts, we need to remember that it’s not about how much money is spent. It's really about the heart behind it and remembering why we do it. We don’t want to have the attitude: Well, I bought for you and you didn't buy for me. I mean, if we're giving a true gift, then we’re not just giving to get something back. We need to set people free from expectations.

For example, a lot of people feel pressured to give gifts when they really can’t afford it. If you can't afford to buy a gift for someone, just explain it to them and don't be embarrassed. Everybody goes through different times like that. There's nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, I’m really tight on money this year, so I’m not going to be able to buy you a gift. But I love you, and I’m looking forward to when we can exchange gifts again.”

Of course, the gifts we give don’t have to be material. We can bless others in a lot of ways if we’re willing put some thought and creativity into it.

Do you have any more tips for having a great Christmas?

First of all, we should always be looking out for the poor and those in need and helping them. And secondly, we also need to think about people who are alone on Christmas and how they feel. You know, I’ve shared a lot about my family and how we get together. But there are a lot of people who spend Christmas alone. So, if you're one of those people, I want you to know that you're really not alone because Jesus is always with you.

You might think: Well, Joyce, that's not really the same as having people around you. So, if you do feel that way, I encourage you to stop waiting for an invitation. Because you can be the one who gives the invitation. Find somebody else who’s spending Christmas by themselves and spend your time together.

Another thing you can do is volunteer at a church or shelter where they're serving meals. There are so many opportunities to get involved in your community, to help people in need—and that’s a great way to spend your holiday.

Is there anything else on your heart that you’d like to share?

Well, to all of our friends…and you are our friends. Dave and I want to wish you a very merry and a blessed Christmas. Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and let's keep our focus on Him.

Now I want to pray for you:

Father, I pray for our friends this Christmas season, that they'll be blessed with a wonderful holiday. Help them to stay peaceful and rested, and to stop all the “doing” when they start to feel stressed. Help us remember that Christmas is about Jesus and not anything else, and to keep Him at the center of our holiday season. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Do you want to know Jesus?

He really is the greatest gift—and He wants to give you the gift of Himself today. And it will change your life! Learn more at joycemeyer.org/HowToKnowJesus

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

— John 3:16-17 (NIV)

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