You’re out there, I know you are. I can see you. You’re not quite ready to say goodbye to Christmas this year. You want the joy of Christmas to linger just a little while longer. I get it. I’ve got your back in today’s show. Keep listening, this one’s for you.
Welcome to You Were Made for This
If you find yourself wanting more from your relationships, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll discover practical principles you can use to experience the life-giving relationships you were made for.
I’m your host, John Certalic, award-winning author and relationship coach, here to help you find more joy in the relationships God designed for you.
To access all past and future episodes, go to the bottom of this page, enter your name and email address, then click on the follow or subscribe button. The episodes are organized chronologically and are also searchable by topics, categories, and keywords.
To keep the joy of Christmas rolling, I’ll start by reading a joyful Christmas memory shared by one of our listeners. Chris wrote:
A Christmas memory that stands out for me is going to a Christmas tree farm near Cross Plains, Wisconsin where we lived with dad and my siblings. I remember walking quite a bit to choose just the right tree, cutting it with our own saw, dragging it to the car and taking it home to decorate.
Then Kim, another listener, shared this joyful Christmas memory of hers:
My memory is going to my grandma’s house at Christmas and seeing her tree. She had a special ornament on her tree for every family member.. when we would get to her house we would always look for our ornament. Our name was written on the ornament. When my husband came into my life and when each of my children were born she designated an ornament for each of them. When she left her home she gave each family their ornaments. I now treasure those ornaments on my tree.
Lastly, Chris shared another Christmas memory when he wrote:
My grandparents had a beautiful old Swiss chalet on five acres in Madison Highlands with large rooms and high ceilings. The tree needed to be so large to fill the space that Papa would select a huge tree and cut off the top for our use.This worked out nicely for him because it served to also reopen the view of Lake Mendota in the distance from his property.
The places Chris refers to are in and around Madison, Wisconsin in the US.
Thanks for the memories
So Chris and Mary, thanks for sharing those Christmas memories. The theme I see in all of them is the joy of relationships. Chris with his dad and siblings, Kim with her grandmother, and Chris again with his grandparents.
Previous episodes about the joy of Christmas
Now for those of you who aren’t quite ready to say to put Christmas 2022 in the rearview mirror, I went back into our archives of past episodes and pulled out 13 of them that specifically deal with Christmas.
I’ve posted their titles and the links to them in the show notes, and I’ll say a little about each one to help you decide if you want to listen to one or more of them. If you’re driving to the store to return Christmas presents and aren’t prepared to write the links down, I’ve made it easy for you.
Each of these episodes can be accessed by going to JohnCertalic.com/ followed by the 3-digit episode number I’ll give you. I’ll start with the oldest episodes first and end with the most recent Christmas shows. And of course, this will all be in the show notes of this episode for you to look up.
The Gift of Even Though, JohnCertalic.com/004
I’ll start with the episode entitled “The Gift of Even Though” found at JohnCertalic.com/004. And that’s spelled John with an “h”, and Certalic, C-e-r-t-a-l-i-c. JohnCertalic.com/004.
It was the first of 3 related to Christmas gifts a few years ago. This particular episode is about a phone conversation I had with our 93-year-old friend Lorraine. We first met when Janet and I were freshmen in college. She and her husband Vern wanted to have children but weren’t able to, and we were like the children – now adults – she never had.
In a phone conversation with Lorraine, she talked about how grateful she was for the rich life she had lived, even though…she was not able to have what she truly wanted.
I shared the 5 values Janet and I learned from this childless couple a generation older than us. Values we learned from watching how they lived. They were a great gift to us by showing how to live even though the desires of one’s heart are never met. It’s one of my favorite episodes. JohnCertalic.com/004.
The Gift of Joy – Part 1, JohnCertalic.com/005
The second Christmas episode on my list is “The Gift of Joy – Part 1,” found at JohnCertalic.com/005. It’s an answer to the question, “What do I do when I need more joy in my life?” The answer is to share in the joy others experience, even when it has nothing to do with you. I tell two stories that show how to do this. One of which brought tears to my eyes. It’s one of my favorite episodes. JohnCertalic.com/005.
End the Year with Christmas Joy, JohnCertalic.com/006
Next on my list of the joy of Christmas episodes is “End the Year with Christmas Joy, found at JohnCertalic.com/006. In this show, I talk about how joy is more like a cat than a dog. Let that sink in for a minute. Listen to this one to learn how joy is more like a cat than a dog.
This leads to a story about the joy of Christmas found in a flash mob that appeared out of nowhere at a shopping mall food court a few weeks before Christmas. A choir dressed like all the other shoppers springs out from amongst the crowd to sing a rousing rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.
I share a newspaper article about the event and what a moving experience it was for many who were there, and the joy of Christmas it brought into people’s lives. I include a link to the YouTube video of the flash mob scene near the bottom of the show notes for episode 006.
If you’re feeling down for whatever reason, do yourself a favor and watch the video clip. It’s one of my favorites. Again, go to JohnCertalic.com/006 for all the details.
Seven Relationship Lessons from the Greatest Christmas Movie Ever Made, JohnCertalic.com/045
On to the next one on the list. For me, the joy of Christmas would not be complete without watching the greatest Christmas movie ever made, It’s a Wonderful Life! In episode 045 I summarize the plot of the film, and then explain the relationship lessons that are rich gems below the surface of the storyline, namely:
- Before is often better than now
- People need our prayers
- Good leaders are good with relationships
- Keenly observing people enables us to help them
- That which bothers us most often reveals the idols in our life
- Relationships have the power to calm our hearts in the midst of stress and turmoil
- When we pray for a solution to a problem, God often provides one we never could have imagined
This really is one of my favorite episodes. I could do a weekend workshop just on these seven relationship lessons from the movie. JohnCertalic.com/045.
Where Joy to the World is Found, JohnCertalic.com/046
Moving on, Episode 046 is “Where Joy to the World is Found.” Here’s a line from that show that summarizes what it’s all about: look for joy in the ordinary, in the simple, that’s hiding in plain sight right in front of us all year round. It’s in the ordinary where the joy of Christmas is found. Go to JohnCertalic.com/046 to listen in and see how. It’s one of my favorites.
What Mary Treasured on Christmas Day, JohnCertalic.com/047
Then we have “What Mary Treasured on Christmas Day” in episode 047. It’s where I comment on the Christmas Story found in Luke 2:1-20 in the Bible. Relationships are what Mary treasured most, and it’s these relationships that make the joy of Christmas like no other event in human history. The implications of these relationships are what Mary pondered and treasured in her heart, and thought about them often. It’s one my all-time favorites.
A Christmas Gift of Silence, JohnCertalic.com/080
Moving on, episode 080, “A Christmas Gift of Silence,“ focuses on an early player in the joy of Christmas story – Zechariah. I talk about why he was silenced, and what we learn from Zechariah’s mistake. The main point of this show is trust God and what he says, even when it defies logic, human wisdom, and experience. Silence can be a real gift as you’ll hear in episode 080. This is one of my favorite episodes.
A Christmas Gift of Deep Personal Connection, JohnCertalic.com/081
Next is “A Christmas Gift of Deep Personal Connection,” in episode 081. Here I discuss the personal connection between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, and the gift of having people in our life who ”get us.” This gift certainly adds to the joy of Christmas. Elizabeth and Mary connect with each other even though there’s a large age gap between the two of them. The close relationship they each have with God makes this possible. There’s is a triangulated relationship in the best sense of the word. Relationships like this are a great gift we can give each other. Check it out at JohnCertalic.com/081. Be sure to check this one out; it’s one of my favorites.
A Christmas Gift of Anticipation, JohnCertalic.com/082
Following episode 081 is “ A Christmas Gift of Anticipation, “ in episode 082. It’s about anticipating the joy of Christmas. The beginning of the Christmas story found in Luke’s Gospel account is just dripping with anticipation, and the joy that comes with it.
I make the point that the deeper we know Jesus and what he’s already done for us, the more joy there is in anticipating what he will do in the future. It’s a great Christmas gift. I really like this one, and I think you will, too.
The Best Christmas – Be with People in Community, JohnCertalic.com/083
Moving on, episode 083 is the only joy of Christmas show where I interview someone. In “The Best Christmas – Be with People in Community” I interview Josephine, a single missionary serving in Eastern Europe. She talks about being in her apartment alone in her pajamas at Christmas, some 5,000 miles from home. But then, a group of her local musician friends invite her out to play Christmas music. They did it to honor her. She talks at length about the personal meaning of Emmanuel – “God with us.” She sees it in the shepherds on that first Christmas night and their need for community. I really enjoyed this. It’s one of my favorites.
A Better Kind of Christmas Joy, JohnCertalic.com/134
Next is episode 134, “ A Better Kind of Christmas Joy.” It’s about the characters at the beginning of the Christmas story, Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary. How they interact with God and each other is another way we too can experience the joy of Christmas. I enjoyed digging beneath the surface of the storyline to see how each of these characters develop. I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this one. It’s one of my favorite episodes.
Christmas with a Good Man Brings Joy, JohnCertalic.com/135
Next up is “Christmas with a Good Man Brings Joy,” episode 135. It’s about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. I call him the Marcel Marceau of the New Testament because there’s no record of him saying anything. Yet this behind-the-scenes kind of guy makes a significant contribution to the joy of Christmas by the example he sets. His actions speak volumes about what good men do in their relationships. I really love this episode, and I think you will too. JohnCertalic.com/135.
Make it a Mary Christmas this Year, JohnCertalic.com/136
Finally, “Make it a Mary Christmas this Year,” you will find at JohnCertalic.com/136. And that’s Mary, spelled M-a-r-y. It’s about the Virgin Mary’s perspective of that first Christmas, and how she applied the ORA principle of deepening relationships we’ve talked about. The episode is about what she Observed, Reflected, and Acted upon. All things that apply to us today. Like all the others, this is one of my favorite shows.
So what does all this mean for YOU?
If you want the joy of Christmas to linger just a little while longer, listen to the episodes I described. They will help carry you through the days ahead. They’ll show you principles of healthy relationships you can put into practice every day of the year.
Here’s the main takeaway I hope you remember from today’s episode
The joy of Christmas is the joy of Jesus coming to us so one day we can go to be with him, fully transformed into the person we were meant to be. You were made for this.
In closing, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. Especially if there’s a particular past episode you found especially meaningful. You can send me an email, or share your thoughts in the “Leave a Comment” box at the bottom of the show notes of this episode.
Well, that’s it for today. If there’s someone in your life you think might like to hear what you just heard, please forward this episode on to them. Scroll down to the bottom of the show notes and click on one of the options in the yellow “Share This” bar.
I’ll close with a sign I saw yesterday at my eye doctor’s office. Next to the receptionist’s desk were two small blocks, one on top of the other, that read “Spread Kindness.” I’ve been thinking about that since, and it’s something I’m trying to act on. I hope you do the same. Spread kindness. And I’ll see you again next year on January 4th, for the first episode of 2023. Goodbye for now.
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Links to the Christmas episodes mentioned
The Gift of Even Though
The Gift of Joy – Part 1
The Gift of Joy – Part 2
Seven Relationship Lessons from the Greatest Christmas Movie Ever Made
Where Joy to the World is Found
What Mary Treasured on Christmas Day
A Christmas Gift of Silence
A Christmas Gift of Deep Personal Connection
A Christmas Gift of Anticipation
The Best Christmas – Be with People in Community
A Better Kind of Christmas Joy
Christmas with a Good Man Brings Joy
Make it a Merry Christmas this Year
End the Year with Christmas Joy