Desensitized to Joy

You’ve probably heard the phrase “desensitized,” but it’s most often in terms of bad things. Like the guy who’s seen so many gory movies he’s no longer bothered by depravity. Or the sailor who barely even notices the casual F-bomb. The TV show “Friends” played with this when Joey and Chandler had watched so much porn on TV that they were affronted when the female pizza deliverer didn’t invite herself in to see the bedrooms.

It’s another word for numbness. And perhaps just as bad as growing numb to something bad is growing numb to something good. Something like joy. Sadly, that happens around Christmas time. We’ve seen the Christmas hooplah so many times that it’s no longer fascinating. The result is either misery and grumbling all through December or desperately chasing some new high–like the latest gift.

I don’t want that to happen to you. This year, I pray that you see or rediscover the joy in all the things you overlook.

When you see Christmas lights at night, may you stop to allow your inner child a little giggle at the pretty colors.

When you pick up a gift, may you hold off on tearing apart the wrapping, focus on the to/from tag, and know that somebody thought of you.

When the searching, biting cold sinks its teeth into you, may you huddle close to a loved one–a spouse, a parent, a child, a dear friend–and find a warmth no fire can mimic.

And if you are alone this year, may you find someone else as lonesome as you, and may you find much laughter and joy with your new friend.

When the snow traps you inside, may you see not an obstacle, but God’s gift of rest and soft, crystaline beauty.

When you hear that holiday song for the hundredth time, may you remember what a joy music itself can be, or perhaps whistle that song you love instead, and find that extra spring your step needed.

When you grab your favorite Christmas treat, don’t wolf it down, but stop and eat it slowly. Savor the explosion of flavor in every bite.

Do you remember your favorite holiday movie as a child? Go watch it again and see if you can’t rediscover that wonder all over again.

If you believe in the Virgin Birth, may you not forget it this year. May it always stagger you to think how God the Infinite wrapped himself in frail humanity and became a servant to all, born to bleed and die so you don’t have to. May the weight of that love bring you to your knees all over again.

And if you don’t believe, then may you be flooded by the radiant joy of someone who does. May it warm your heart, make you laugh deep in your soul, and cause you to look up at the night sky, hoping for a glimpse of that famed Star.

Finally, may you never think it tired or cliche, but rather nod your head in heartfelt agreement to hear, “God bless us, everyone.”

2 thoughts on “Desensitized to Joy

  1. At this point it’s my children who remind me about the joys of Christmas, the true joys of Baby Jesus’ birthday and the more modern joys of all those presents from Santa. My only job is to keep playing Christmas carols on the piano and sing along as badly as I do. It would be sad if we were to become numb to these joys.


    1. That’s precious. My mom said she was having a bad Christmas one year, but I, being 5 and able to decorate the tree for the first time, said it was the best Christmas ever and that made it worth it. Kids do that.


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