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As United Methodists pack to travel for the holidays, we are reminded to let go of negativity, freeing us to receive Christmas joy. Image by Troy Dossett, United Methodist Communications.

Image by Troy Dossett, United Methodist Communications

When learning to pack less for holiday travel, we are reminded to let go of negativity. That frees us to receive Christmas joy.

Make Room for Joy: Advent devotion


A devotion by Joe Iovino*

Note: This is the fourth in a series of Advent devotions called, “Make Room for Christmas.”

Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.

—Luke 2:4-5 CEB

As Mary and Joseph traveled to his hometown, many of us go home for Christmas as well. We journey near and far to gather with family and friends, some of whom we may not see at any other time of year.

For infrequent travelers, the idea of getting on an airplane or packing the car can seem overwhelming. Where is that suitcase? Is this too big to be a carry-on? Do we have everything the kids will need? How will we travel with the gifts we’ll give and later return with the ones we’ll receive?

Many will over pack, only to realize later we didn’t need to take everything with us.

In our everyday lives, we can also carry a lot of negative, emotional “baggage.” Anger about that event long ago still travels with us. Hurt from a difficult relationship seems always nearby. Internal struggles about money, time, and other resources are held onto. We need to pack lighter.

When we carry too much, we hinder our ability to receive. Our hands must be empty to embrace the joy of Christ, to receive the love from our neighbors, friends and family.

Do you tend to over pack? What might you leave behind? What good things have you missed because you were clutching onto something else? What negativity do you need to release?

How will you make room for joy this Christmas?

Prayer: O God, grant me the strength and courage to carry less “baggage” this Christmas.

*Joe Iovino works for at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email or at 615-312-3733.

This devotion published December 17, 2018.