It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the hap-happiest season of all! Then why isn’t everything good? Why is my heart heavy, my life a struggle? Ever ask yourself those questions? We have such high expectations for this time of year ~ Christmas ~ and when our lives aren’t storybook perfect, discouragement and disillusionment set in. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I think we all long for the perfect family, the perfect relationships, the perfect life because we were created in perfection. God created us to be personally, intimately connected with Him. When sin entered the picture, death entered the picture. Our world was suddenly marred, no longer the perfect Eden. Our hearts were marred, no longer intimately connected with our Father and Creator, now separated from Him by our own sin. And we have been aching to reconnect with Him ever since.
Oh, we can try to ease that heartache with other things, but the only way to repair that broken heart and erase that ache is to restore the connection with the Healer of our souls. And the only way for that connection to be restored is through Jesus. When He came to earth as a wee babe, and grew into a perfect and sinless man who then died on a cross two thousand years ago, He paid the price for all of mankind’s sins, took the punishment and condemnation upon Himself, and made a way for us to stand clean and restored before God. He rose from the dead, conquering death’s hold on us all so that we could choose life everlasting with Him. Jesus can wash away the ick of this world ~ the sin, the pain, the past, the abuse, the ache ~ and clothe us in His clean and comforting robes of righteousness. When we accept this gift offered to all of us through Jesus, by faith, no longer are we confronted by our own unworthiness and guilt, but by God’s grace ~ unearned, undeserved mercy and love and forgiveness.
If you have not yet accepted God’s free gift of grace, by faith in Jesus, why not do that today? It is the first, and greatest, Christmas gift ever given! 🙂 Forgiveness, restoration, life, peace, hope, love!
But what if you have already accepted Jesus and God’s grace, yet you are still struggling with this season of the year? I can only tell you that everyone struggles at some point, over something, because this world is not our home. We were not designed to live in such a broken place, so the days, relationships, lives, get hard. I always try to turn to God’s word for encouragement at times like that, because my feelings may tell me that life is hopeless and stinky, but God’s word is truth and I know I can depend on Him.
Maybe you have lost a loved one or are ill, addicted, or broken. I’m so, so sorry.
” ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ ” ~ Luke 4:18-19. Jesus came to give us good news, to heal broken hearts, to set captives free, to heal, to restore, to show us the way to God the Father.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4. No matter where you are, no matter what you are suffering, take comfort that God is walking right alongside you. He will never leave or abandon you (Hebrews 13:5).
Perhaps you are without. Without a job, enough money, family, a home. Again, I’m so, so sorry.
” ‘Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” …For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’ ” ~ Matthew 6:31-32b-34. God already knows what we need. Our job is to trust Him for it, and to seek after Him and His will. I know, that can be hard! But He is faithful. Always.
“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” ~ Psalm 68:4-6. Let God be your family. Rest in Him. Trust in Him.
Maybe you have “difficult” friends or family members. Sigh. Oh, if only there could be peace on earth!
” ‘But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you…But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.’ ” ~ Luke 6:27-28, 35-36. Out of the mouth of Jesus Himself, a command for us to love those who are difficult and mean. Love, be good to them, bless them, pray for them, give to them, and be merciful. Because God has been kind and merciful to us, even when we least deserve it./em>
” ‘Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.’ ” ~ Mark 9:50. Sometimes we annoy those around us simply because we belong to Jesus. Be who Jesus has called you to be – be salty! And try to have peace.
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves…” ~ Romans 12:17-19a. ACT, don’t RE-act, our pastor reminds us. As much as depends on you. Do your part to be peaceable with others. You cannot control, or be responsible for, their actions, only your own. Don’t avenge yourself. Forgive!
Are you simply having a “Blue Christmas”? Get into God’s word! Pray. Make sure your heart is right. Sing His praises! Count your blessings- there are many! Look for ways to bless others. Bake, give a gift, smile, be kind, love. Remember that Jesus gives us true peace and joy in our hearts (John 14:27, 15:11), and no one can take that from us!
Hang in there. Remember His mercies are new every morning (read Lamentations 3:19-26!!). Things will get better. God’s promises are true and faithful. And He is coming back for us soon! Hallelujah! Spread the good news! Joy to the world! 🙂