As we launch into the Holiday Season, I want to remind you that holidays are complicated.
Moments of joy and thanksgiving are often mixed with sadness and loss.
They can be wonderful and terrible at the same time.
It’s okay not to be okay all the time.
I want to remind you that the ancient wisdom of Ecclesiastes says, “there isa time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” and during the holidays you may feel that way – all at the same time.
This year, give yourself permission to feel all the emotions the holidays bring.
Walk with Jesus through them, acknowledge them, embrace them.
With grace for others and grace for yourself.
Holidays are complicated and stressful as well as joyful and fun.
May you fully embrace each moment and be fully embraced by Jesus as you do.
“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Phillpians 4:6-8 The Message Version
How do you survive in a world that is pulling on you in all directions?
There is so much to know, too much to know.
Knowing everything that is going on in the world is overwhelming and undermining at the same time.
It is overwhelming because we are finite beings who are limited to one place at one time.
It is undermining because it erodes hope and breeds fear giving birth to an epidemic of anxiety.
How do we survive?
We choose to withdraw in the grace filled arms of God before we look into the lens of world.
We step into a shower of worship and allow God to saturate us with His presence before we step onto the sidewalk of humanity.
We go to Him without fear of judgement or censure.
We speak to Him about what is really going on in our hearts and hold nothing back.
We aim our thoughts on the target of that which is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind.
Not to ignore what is happening in the world around us but to be free to see it through the perspective of something bigger, someone bigger, someone who spoke it into existence, walked among it, died for it and is redeeming it one life at a time.
Someone who is a Savior and the only One who can save it.
God is still doing glorious work in you and in me.
I am overwhelmed by it.
Which is so much better than being overwhelmed by everything else.
“I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe GOD; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out. GOD met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.”
Psalm 34:1-4 MSG
You will have lots of opportunities today to worry, to second guess and to be anxious.
You will also have lots of opportunities to bless God, breathe in His presence and receive His joy.
They are the same opportunities, it is what you do with them that makes the difference.
Take a deep breath, expand your lungs and your faith.
Take every opportunity you get to worry today and turn it into worship.
Turn every chance you get to stress today and turn it into a moment to trust.
God will meet you more than halfway and will use every chance you give Him to free you from your fears.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1 NIV
During this time, be wise. Stay connected and encouraged. Don’t allow fear to overcome your faith – God knows what is happening and is prepared to meet you more than halfway.
Black Friday has changed over the years and isn’t the mad rush at midnight that it used to be. Black Friday has changed but the stress of the season hasn’t. Today I want to remind you of a few things to help you deal with it:
Stay focused on the main goal of this season.
Do what God has given you to do where you are.
Don’t worry about what others are doing or getting.
Don’t wonder where others are going or what others are giving.
Focus on what is important today.
Focus on the why of the season.
“Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leaveyou,’ we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 MSG
Jesus has promised to be with you and is ready to help you in every situation that presents itself to you.
Ask God for help and focus on being present in the present today.