• Deacon Bob Evans

Keeping Joy Alive in Our Hearts

Updated: Dec 30, 2019


The wrapping paper has all been bundled up; friends and family have headed home; the kitchen has been rescued and restored; our sense of anticipation is spent. Things are getting back to “normal,” unfortunately. We’d really like to hang on to the joy just a little longer.

We’d really like to hang on to the joy just a little longer.

For some of us, this past year may have been a time of prosperity and happiness. For others, it may have been a time of heartaches and challenges. But that’s the natural ebb and flow of life; and the New Year is always filled with promise.

But before New Years overtakes us, I invite you to a brief time of reflection on those things in your life that are good and comforting, that have brought you joy. For many, it’s family (those who live with you and those who may live far away). They are connected to you in a way that no one else in the world is. There are friends, those who may have shared this Christmas with you and those you may not have seen in a very long time, but who have made great memories with you in the past. And, there’s the presents, Christmas cards, phone calls, and well wishes that reminded you, again, that you really are cared about. Yes, there is much to hang onto, the Christmas season is really not over until the Epiphany, January 6, 2020.

Wow, “2020,” it sounds a bit strange saying that. It will take some getting used to. Yes, there’s a whole new year ahead, and as I say it is filled with promise. But that promise will quickly fade if God is not truly active in your life. You may have kept Christ in Christmas this year, but He desires to be with you every day, through the good times and the bad.

There is a way to keep that “joy of Christmas”

alive in your heart; it’s through prayer.

There is a way to keep that “joy of Christmas” alive in your heart. It’s through prayer, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of petition, prayers that silently talk to God in whatever way moves you. There are of course the most common prayers, like the Our Father and Hail Mary, but what you may find most meaningful is just sharing with our Lord whatever is on your mind and heart. He has promised to hear and answer every prayer – each in the way He sees best. For Jesus said: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [Matthew 7:7]. And, there’s great joy in knowing that we have been heard; that we are cared about; that we are not alone in this life.


I offer to you the following prayer, as a starting point for the New Year, for both you and me. Form your own version of it, shape it to your life circumstances; let it say what is in your heart; let it speak to God in the way that only you can do.

Dear Lord,

I thank you for all you have done for me in the past year. There were good times and challenges and sadly much of what you did for me I didn’t even notice as I busied myself with life. I ask you to guide me in this coming New Year. Open those doors for me that need to be opened and close those that need to be closed that I may follow your will for me in all that I do. Please help me seek you first over what I may desire.

Keep me far from the entrapments of this world that I may be safe in your hands. Give me wisdom and strength to keep you more present in my mind and heart. Forgive me for the many times I’ve worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting how much I need you. Forgive me for letting my worries so control me that I have been distant from you at the very times when I needed you most.

I ask for your grace; I pray for your blessings; help me to be more kind and attentive to those around me that I may not continue to live as though I were what matters most. Rather, in this coming New Year, may I witness to your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs you.

Amen.

May God bless you during this Christmas season and throughout the coming New Year.

‘Till next time.

Dcn. Bob Evans

December 28, 2019

Scripture references

Matthew 7:7

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