Plan to Celebrate the Holiday Season with a Joyful Heart

Bless the Lord, my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name
(Psalm 103: 1 NASB)

For a few days, I fed on news reports, set no boundaries on my Google searches, and paid no attention to the time I spent doing this. As this activity increased, so did the level of anger, anxiety, and depression in my soul.

Last night I went to bed. I tossed and turned for a long time. After sleeping for three hours, I woke up. The same negative feelings flooded my mind. ”

What could I do?

Help me, God!” I prayed.

Nothing happened. My feelings did not change. I repeated my prayer.
“Help me! Help me! Help me!”

I waited. Repeated my prayer. Waited.

After a while, these words from Psalm 103 popped into my mind–
“Bless the Lord, my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.”

I continued repeating and meditating on this verse, eventually fell asleep, and woke with a joyful melody in my heart. What relief!

In this season of isolation and uncertainty, it would easy for me to fall back into anger, anxiety, and depression. What can I do to increase and maintain joy in my heart so that when Thanksgiving arrives (in 12 days), when Christmas arrives (in 41 days), and when 2021 arrives (in 47 days), I can celebrate truly celebrate?

This is my plan to increase and maintain a joyful heart. I will change my focus to one of gratitude. Every day, for the next 47 days, I will

  • Read Psalm 103 (verses 1-5), reflect on God’s blessings, and thank him for them
  • Write down as many gratitude statements as I can think of
    • Read them aloud before I go to bed
    • Read all of them on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years’ day
  • Send a “Thank you” message or affirmation to at least one person

How joyful is your heart? Does it need a little encouragement? If so, I invite you to join me and adopt my action plan. Start as soon as you can.

Or make up a action plan of your own. Share it with me and/or someone else.


Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
    sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
    singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
    How blessed they are to live and sing there!
(Psalm 84:3, 4 MSG)

Perhaps the first and second lines of my poem would better be written: “In this week that’s called ‘Election undecided'”. What a stressful time this is for our country and for the world! Let us continue to encourage one another, pray for one another, and work toward reconciliation and unity.

In this day that’s called
“Election undecided”,
When the world awaits
Him who will be “knighted”—
Magnificent God,
Creator and Blesser,
Righteous and Loving,
Your reign is forever!
Open our eyes
To see what you’re doing;
Open our ears
To hear what you’re saying;
Place in our hearts
A desire to please you;
Create in our wills
Resolve to obey you.
Oh, Father of lights,
Sustainer of all life,
Have mercy on this world
Filled with violence and strife;
Oh, great physician,
Healer of all disease,
Cause us to repent
That war and pain may cease.
May your will be done.
May your kingdom progress,
As your children live
In obedience:
Cherishing your word,
Following your command,
Expressing you love
In ways that you’ve planned;
Not living my chance,
Nor distracted by threats;
Not yielding to fear,
Nor to greed’s excess;
Displaying, instead,
Gentleness and self-control;
By the Spirit’s help,
Possessing our soul!
Jane Ault