TIS THE SEASON

Tis the season of love, joy, peace, and thankfulness! Tis the season where wishes come true and families come together. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day are celebrations that are supposed to be memorable and meaningful. Yet, statistics say there a rise in depression and anxiety during the holiday seasons. Instances of domestic violence are higher and, of course, there is the famous department store combat over Black Friday sale items and Christmas rushing.

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

How has “the most wonderful time of the year” become one of the craziest times of the year? For many, there are holiday dinners, parties, end of the fiscal calendar year wrap-ups, and holiday shopping. These are just a few of the many distractions that can cause anxiety and frustration. We want everything to be perfect for the holidays. We want to have the best decorations, the most delicious meals, the ideal gifts, and when we can’t achieve the height of our expectations, we start to stress and things begin to fall apart. Where did we ever come up with this idea that the holidays have to be perfect? We go to such great measures to make it all happen for this season just to have it come around again next year. The holidays are not like a once-and-done wedding event, yet I feel that we try to make it that way. Always trying to out-do ourselves or fancy it up to impress our loved ones or to compete with our neighbors!

The holidays are supposed to be magical, a reminder of our Savior coming as a baby, who would later die on a cross for our sins. Wouldn’t it make sense that our adversary- the devil- would want to try to distract us from focusing on Jesus during the holiday season? I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Satan will do whatever necessary to keep us from focusing on Jesus. He will use any distraction possible to keep from seeking after Him, as we easily see with the booming industry of consumerism. But beware, Satan will even use the good things that keep us too busy to enjoy the “magic,” like hosting festivities or volunteering. This is why we need to be on guard. There is spiritual war happening, even at Christmastime! Maybe, especially at Christmastime!

BE ON GUARD

There are a lot of important things to do, but the truth of the matter is we determine what the most important thing in our lives is. Even Jesus had to go off to a quiet place to rest and hear God’s voice because He was tired from ministering (Mark 6:31). If Jesus needed to go and rest with the Father, then we, as His followers, especially need to take time to rest in the promises of God and His truths. And ironically, I have found that my time and my focus are often expedited when I spend time getting aligned with Jesus first!

So, I hope that none of us let the distractions of the holidays keep us from hearing the voice of God. I pray that when we feel distracted, overwhelmed, or anxious, that we would retreat to a quiet place and rest in Him. I pray that we would not succumb to the distractions and pressures of the world during the time we celebrate His birth, but instead find Hope in the promises of Jesus this holiday season. Tis the season to reflect on Jesus and His promises and may we find peace in Jesus that succeeds all our understanding!