Joyce Meyer - Christmas with Joyce
Hey, hello to everybody. So thrilled that it's Christmas, and really glad that I get to spend a little time with you in my home. Ginger's already inside. So, welcome, come on in. We're gonna have a good talk today about Christmas.
Joyce: Hi, Ginger. Well, we've brought a lot of our friends here, into my home today.
Ginger: We have. Isn't it nice?
Joyce: We're gonna have some wonderful things to talk about, about Christmas.
Ginger: Well, it's great to spend a little bit of Christmas time with you.
Joyce: Thank you.
Ginger: And people have sent in some very fun questions. And we'll also talk about some very important things, of course. There's so much great, about Christmas to celebrate.
Ginger: So, let's start off with just a fun question. This is Melinda. She says, "What's your favorite thing about Christmas"?
Ginger: See, that's the perfect answer.
Joyce: That's the thing that we have to really keep in mind is that, that's what Christmas is about. And to be honest, sometimes, people end up frustrating themselves because they get into so many other things they're trying to do for Christmas that they forget that Jesus is the center of it, and he's the whole reason why we celebrate it.
Ginger: Yeah, well, you know, that makes me think about all of the people who do get so wound up, so stressed at Christmas time because they're trying to make everything perfect.
Ginger: And then, it becomes a disappointment because it never meets those expectations. You had family, and children, and ministry, and all these things happening all at the same time, how did you balance everything and make sure you put the focus where it was meant to be at Christmas?
Joyce: Well, I imagine that everybody's experience with their Christmas traditions or what they do at Christmas is different. But, mine's a little bit of a journey, I guess. First of all, I grew up in a very dysfunctional home, so Christmas was not a special thing. My dad was really against gift-buying. He always felt like people were just trying to get your money, so, there was not a lot of gift-buying that went on. And if, I got anything for Christmas it was probably one thing. And to be honest, I can't even remember even getting anything. I found that as my family developed that things have to always be changing. And I wanna share that for people who... It's good to have traditions, but you can't make laws out of them.
Ginger: Oh, yeah.
Joyce: They can't become things, "Now, we have to do this forever". You know, for a long time, when my husband's mom was alive, and he has, you know, a lot of sisters and brothers and they all had kids, and so it was a large family and it was very important to her that we all be there, on Christmas eve. And so, for years and years, we all went there, on Christmas eve. And then, there was a midnight church service at the church that everybody went to. And so, everybody stayed up, we tried to keep the kids awake or carry 'em asleep, and we'd go to the midnight church service, and then, get home around maybe, two o'clock in the morning.
Joyce: And so, we did that really, until the Lord took her home. And by then, a lot of us had grown, or growing children of our own, and we really wanted to have our own Christmases.
Ginger: That's a hard transition, isn't it?
Joyce: Yeah, it is. And then, for a lot of years, I don't remember how many, everybody came to our house on Christmas eve and we started about ten o'clock in the morning. There was a lot of gift-giving and eating, and more eating, and laughing, and talking, and they stayed however long they wanted to. As my kids got old enough to get married, I wanted to make sure that I didn't pressure them because they now had other responsibilities with their in-laws. I never wanted to pressure my kids and say, "If you're not here on Christmas eve because this has been our tradition, then I'm gonna be mad and upset". I think so many people do that to their kids, and it's just very unreasonable. Especially, considering that we're celebrating the birth of Christ, who tells us to walk in love and be kind. And so, what we ended up doing, by the time they were all married was we would still start at ten o'clock in the morning, but we only go until about two o'clock in the afternoon, so, they all had time to go home and get a little bit of rest. And then, they would go to their in-laws that night 'cause they wanted to be in their own home on Christmas. Then, after a while, we moved it to my daughter's house because they all were getting little kids, and her house was more kid-friendly, and they had toys, and games, and we did that. Well, now, this year for the first time, we're having to change again, because now, we have grown grandchildren, some of which have to end up working on Christmas eve. And so, we're now, doing our family celebration, the Sunday before Christmas. But my grown children come here, sometime a week or two before Christmas and we have a meal together and I give them their gifts and they give me mine, because, to be honest, on Christmas eve there's so many kids, so many little kids, and everybody's unwrapping and throwing paper every which direction that it wasn't really enjoyable for us to try to share our gifts. And so, we might play a few games or do something like that. The main thing about Christmas is being together, but remembering not to make it so complicated that you get frustrated trying to have all your perfect meals, and making sure, you don't offend anybody. And a lot of people even go out and buy gifts that they don't even wanna buy, they go in debt to buy them, and you know, that's not necessary either.
Ginger: Yeah, I love what you're saying that it's okay for traditions to change.
Ginger: Our lives change, our families change. It's all right for what we love at Christmas to change as well, and there will be something else that we love, 'cause I know a lot of people are feeling like, and it's so hard when something maybe, is drastically changed, maybe you've gone through a divorce, or you've lost a loved one. But to know that, in time, new traditions will come up...
Ginger: That you will enjoy again.
Joyce: I know part of Christmas traditions is baking and cooking...
Ginger: I thought I'd smell cookies when I came in today.
Joyce: Well, you must be imagining things.
Joyce: I never did that.
Ginger: Yeah, me either.
Joyce: First of all, I was in ministry for most of these years and I just, I didn't have time. Even when we had Christmas eve at my house, mine and Dave's house, somebody else did the cooking and they brought it with them.
Ginger: Tell them what Dave said about your cookies.
Joyce: Oh, I will.
Joyce: Dave asked me what we were gonna do on this show and I said, "Well, they're gonna ask me about what my traditions are". And he said, "What are you gonna tell 'em"? I said, "Oh, I'm gonna tell 'em about all the cookies I bake, and the pies, and the turkey". And he said, "Are you gonna tell 'em the cookies are invisible"? And so, I think even in that, I don't wanna see people put pressure on themselves to be some "Certain kind" of person at Christmas that they don't have the gifting, or the desire to even do.
Ginger: That is so freeing. That's really good.
Joyce: So, you don't have to bake cookies if you don't want to.
Ginger: Thank you. Well, actually, when I did bake the cookies nobody wanted to eat them anyway. So, I learned that was not my thing.
Joyce: It's just not my thing either, so, you know...
Ginger: You mentioned your upbringing was, those Christmases, especially, early in, had to be very different and very difficult. Was there a time for you that Christmas changed? Was there a time for you that, that celebration became something that it never was before?
Joyce: Well, when I was younger, you know, Christmas, because of the way I was growing up, it wasn't really special to me, and I wasn't, you know, my family was not a church-going family, or a spiritual family at all. And so, obviously, when I got into my own relationship with Jesus and learned more, it became more special. But I think all of us have to remember what it's all about because there's just so many other things that go on. People are just really busy at that time of the year. And I hear so many people say, "I'm so glad the holidays are over". I mean, don't you hear that?
Ginger: Yeah, you hear it all the time.
Joyce: "I'm so glad the holidays are over, and we can get back to normal life". We don't have to let it be like that. If we're gonna celebrate Jesus' birth, then it needs to be a happy occasion, and it can't be if it becomes too complicated.
Joyce: You know, I said something a minute ago about not buying gifts, going in debt to buy gifts. I really wanna encourage people along those lines, because there's nothing wrong, if you're having a tough time financially, on a certain year, there's nothing wrong with going to people that you would normally buy gifts for or who might be expecting a gift, to just say, "I just wanna let you know that we're a little tight on money this year. And so, I'm not gonna be able to buy gifts. But I love you, and the time will come when I can do it again". That's another pressure that people don't need. They don't need to put their self under the pressure of doing that. But you know, Jesus was the greatest gift. And so, the reason we even give gifts to one another at Christmas is because he is the greatest gift that has ever been given. And so, even in giving gifts, we need to remember that. It's not about how much money you spend. It's really about the heart that you put in it, and remembering why you do it, and making sure that you don't get into family arguments, and strife, and have everybody angry. It should be a very happy, festive, joyous time of year, where we keep Christ the center of it.
Ginger: Yeah, I think that's such a great encouragement for everyone who's listening. Talk about dave's joke and talking about cookies, there's this question here that I love, and I think you'll appreciate it.
Joyce: They want my favorite cookie recipe?
Ginger: Well, there's another one that says, "What's your favorite treat at Christmas"? But this is from Ashley, and she says, "Do you watch all the hallmark Christmas movies? What's your favorite Christmas movie"? I love talking about the hallmark movies with you because I know in your family it's a little bit of a...
Joyce: Well, everybody likes, "It's a wonderful life," and I like it too, but I'm not the kind of person that can watch it year, after year, after year, after year. As you already know, Dave is just a hallmark fanatic. I mean, he loves hallmark movies. Well, I do too, and I thank God that they make a lot of good, clean, family movies but I can only do so many in a short period of time because I feel like that I always know how they're gonna end five minutes after they start.
Joyce: And I don't mean that, you know, like, but see my personality, I need a little mystery. So, yes, we watch hallmark Christmas movies, but I can only do so many.
Ginger: Yeah, and Dave also, is big into Christmas music, right?
Joyce: Oh, yes. He loves, I mean, Dave would play Christmas music all year round. You know, we live close to Branson, Missouri, which is a big entertainment hub in the u.S.
Ginger: Yeah, it's a fun place to be at Christmas.
Joyce: They have all the shows down there. And this year, Dave wants to go. We're going down the second week of December so he can see all the Christmas shows. And I said, "Dave, I don't know how many times I can hear somebody sing, 'jingle bells,' in one week. We're gonna have to come to some agreement here".
Ginger: It's all about compromise.
Joyce: But Dave absolutely, he loves Christmas, he loves the lights, he loves the trees, he loves the movies. You know, they even do, hallmark does Christmas in July. And he watches 'em all July. I mean, we'll have 30 Christmas movies recorded on our recording devices. But it is a great time of the year.
Ginger: Well, talk about Branson and their Christmas shows, I do know a Christmas joke.
Ginger: That is about on that level. It's how did Mary and Joseph know Jesus' official birth weight? Because they had away in the manger.
Joyce: Oh... I'll laugh to be polite.
Ginger: All right. All right, that's only fair. Okay, well, let me ask you another question. This question says, "What's the best Christmas gift you have ever received"? And I think it's interesting what you were just talking about with your perception of Christmas gifts changing because of not getting them when you were young, and then, knowing what matters and what doesn't. So, when you talk about the best gift, you've probably, already answered it, right?
Joyce: Yeah, I don't really know that I could come up one favorite Christmas gift. My children work really hard trying to find something that they really think that I would like. And so, corporately, they've gone together, a couple different times, and bought me a nice piece of Jewelry, or you know? But to me, it's not about how much it costs, it's just the love that goes behind it. And you know, we've gotten to the point now, us, I basically, don't really buy any gifts because everybody in my family is old enough that they either want money or gift cards. And it's amazing how many people have gone to that. I mean, you can ask a lot of people and they'd rather get a gift card than anything, because how many times do we shop, and shop, and shop, and go get something for somebody and then it's not even something they like, or it doesn't fit 'em, and who knows? I mean, one time, I bought several different people a gift card to get a massage. And two and three years later, they'd never gone to get 'em. So, I do a lot of, you know, like, visa, American express, things like that. Now, I love to give gifts, and if I know something that somebody wants, then I will go get that. But I don't wanna buy things just to be buying 'em to fulfill an obligation. I want it to be something that somebody is really going to use.
Ginger: Right. And gift-giving is really one of your love languages.
Joyce: It is. I love to do it. So, I love that part of Christmas, that it's a time to give. And I like to also, look for people that are outside my family that are maybe, financially needy at that time of the year. And I don't just do that at Christmas, but that's a good time to reach out to people because it is the season of showing love to one another through gift-giving. God showed his love for us through giving the gift of Christ, at Christmas.
Ginger: And there's the best gift ever.
Joyce: And there's the best gift ever, and we just need to keep that in mind.
Ginger: Yeah. Yeah, I remember when my kids were young. We were always looking for ways to help them understand the importance, 'cause you know, you have presents and it's great fun, but we also, looked for opportunities to help another family, or to carol at a nursing home, or different things. I know you're year-round encouraging people to be a blessing to others all the time, but I think now, is just a great opportunity. How would you encourage them to put the focus of this season not all on themselves?
Joyce: Keep it about Christmas and don't get so many expectations about what people should buy you, "And well, I bought for you and you didn't buy for me". Those are all the things that really, if we're giving a gift, and it's a true gift, then we don't give it to be sure we get something back. Set people free. You know, have traditions, but if they need to change then let 'em change because it's not about your tradition, it's about Jesus. If you can't afford to buy a gift for someone, just explain it to 'em and don't be embarrassed. Everybody goes through different times like that. The good news is, is we really should have Christmas every day of the year, and by that, I mean, we should celebrate Christ everyday of the year. And I feel like that I do that. I like to keep him the center of my heart and the center of my life all the time. And I don't even think Christmas should be the only time we give gifts. I think we should always be wanting to make people happy and one of the ways that you can, pretty much be assured to make anybody happy, is by giving them a nice gift. And we should always be looking out for the poor, and the needy, and helping them. And you know, I think something that would be good to talk about for a minute is maybe, people that are alone on Christmas, and how they feel. And you know, we're sitting here talking about our families, and the big families, and how to manage all these families, but there are a lot of people that are alone on Christmas. But I want to assure you, if you're one of those people, that you're really not alone because Jesus is always with you. I know, that maybe, that's not the same, you think, as having people around you. But you know, if you are by yourself, maybe you could take the initiative to go find somebody else that's by themselves. And instead of sitting, waiting for an invitation, be the invitation. Be the one who gives the invitation, or you can go help out at a shelter where they're serving meals. You can do something to get involved in another way if you don't have families like we're talking about.
Ginger: Yeah, that's a great encouragement because there are so many people who find this to be a really difficult time.
Joyce: Right. There's a lot of people that think about suicide this time of the year, or I'm sure, if you're really ill, it makes it even more difficult in that way because you feel so bad. And so, it's a joyous time for a lot of people and probably for some it's sad. But we always need to make it something that, in our heart, we remember that God gave us the greatest gift of all, which is Jesus.
Ginger: Yeah, I think there's something so beautiful, in Christmas moving right into Easter, you know, through the calendar. Because the fact that Christ came as that tiny, innocent baby, that he was willing to lay down everything, the keys to the kingdom, to become a human to understand what we've been through, and then, to grow into a man who would sacrifice everything for us. And it's so easy to forget all of that with everything happening.
Ginger: Or to just see Jesus as a baby in a manger, and not think about the detail of what this season means to us, and what he has really done for us.
Joyce: I don't know that we, in our finite minds, can ever really comprehend the gift that God gave us. And I certainly, don't think we will ever understand the depth of the suffering that Jesus went through, when he died on the cross for us and took all of our sins upon himself. And I was thinking the other day about when he said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? You know? So, we actually, have... Yes, the Son of God, but God himself because it was God in Christ. And so, we actually, have God taking that suffering on himself so we could be free. And so, I always think, if Jesus did all that for us, the least we can do is be happy on Christmas and not be grumpy, and getting in strife over not getting the gift we wanted, or somebody not being able to come to our house that year that we wanted them to come. It needs to be a time where we honor him and just not let it get out of focus.
Ginger: And make a decision that we hold on to that commitment that we make. Well, Joyce, I know that you have a little holiday message for everyone. And it was so nice of you to invite us into your home and...
Joyce: Well, thank you.
Ginger: It's fun to spend some time with you. We appreciate it very much.
Joyce: Well, thank you. I thank you for coming too.
Well, I'm so glad that you've been able to spend this time with me here, in my home, and I hope that we said some things that bless you and perhaps even set you free in some areas, where you had felt like you were kind of in bondage and didn't wanna be any more. And I wanna pray for you, but then, I don't want you to leave because I have something very important I want to talk to you about.
Father, I pray for everybody concerning their Christmas holidays, that they'll all have a wonderful time, that everybody will be relaxed, and rested, and that they'll do what they need to do, but not get so caught up in so many things that it becomes a burden to them. Help everybody remember that Christmas is about you, and it's not about anything else. Let them keep Jesus as the center of this holiday. We ask it, in Jesus' name.
Now, you know, we've been talkin' about Jesus today. And many of you have Jesus in your life, you have him in your heart, you've received him as your Savior, and your Lord, but I know that there's also many watching who have not. And really, we talk about being saved or being born-again, the Bible says, "You must be born-again if you're gonna spend eternity with God". And that really means that you just need to be sorry for living a life of sin, but more than that, you have to be willing to turn away from it. The word repentance means to go in a completely different direction.
And if you're ready to admit today that you are a sinner, and that you're ready to walk away from that, and you want Jesus in your life, you want salvation from him, and you wanna spend the rest of your life serving him and you'd like to pray with me, I'm going to pray a very short but an important prayer, and I want you to pray it along with me. And then, there's gonna be a number on the bottom of your screen that you can call and one of our operators can pray with you further, we'll send you a booklet that we have about how to get your new life with Christ started right. But the greatest gift is the gift of Jesus. And if you do not have him in your life or in your heart, he wants to give you the gift of himself today. And believe me, it will change your life. So, I'm gonna pray, a few words at a time, and you can pray out loud following me.
Father, I love you. And I believe that Jesus is your son. And that you sent him to earth to live and die for me. I know that I'm a sinner, and I'm sorry for the way I've lived. And I ask you to forgive me. And I repent, I'm ready to turn and go in a different direction. I want to be a follower of Christ. I want to learn his ways, and be all that you want me to be. So, Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, God yourself, I believe you lived and died for me, and I believe that you rose from the dead. And I ask you to come into my heart now, and receive me as your child. In Jesus' name, amen.
Well, to all of our friends, and you are our friends, and a very special friend, I want to wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas holiday. Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and let's keep our focus on him. God bless you.