As we come into another holiday season, we can do so with either joy and anticipation or anxiety and dread. What is billed in popular media as, “the most wonderful time of the year”, is often anything but. In fact, for many, this is the absolute worse time of the year! The pressures of the season on top of the already overwhelming pressures of life, regrets of past holidays, the marking of another year of unfulfilled goals-all of it can add up to a very difficult month!
We must acknowledge, though, that the commands of the Bible do not change with the seasons.
When we read verses like:
1 Corinthians10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him
We need to acknowledge that they are still the God-given goals even when facing a difficult time of year.
Now, to be clear, there are many wonderful things that happen this time of year and you may not connect at all with the thought that Christmas and New Years could be anything but wonderful. If that’s you, pass this on to a friend. What I do know is that MANY struggle deeply at this time of year and MOST have at least moments that are not “wonderful”.
I’m a firm believer that planning ahead is THE major difference between success and failure in most areas of life. We cannot plan for every situation and unexpected event, but when we do plan we are in a much better position to deal with the unanticipated or unforeseen. It is when we just “go with the flow”, so to speak, that the unexpected becomes unbearable and shapes both our outcomes and emotions. When we are properly prepared we are able to keep moving forward in spite of what may show up on our path.
When I am telling the story of “March or Die”, my first point is:
“The biggest fights come when we least expect them”
but the second point is:
“We may not get to choose the fight but we always get to choose HOW we fight. And the time to choose is before the fight comes.”
Success is all about preparation.
The holiday season is no different. What is the difference between a great Christmas and New Years? Proper preparation in the right areas.
So where do we need to focus if we are going to get the most out of this season and fulfill the command of I Corinthians 10:31 to “do all to the glory of God?”
We have all heard the saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” As trite as that may be, Jesus really is the reason for the Season! Determine now that you will focus on and remain committed to your relationship with God this season. What an ironic shame it is that many will get further from God during Christmas than at any other time of the year.
We need to stay close to Jesus:
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
1Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
How do we stay close?
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God
Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Maintain your focus on the Lord
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Share the Gospel
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
There are so many time pressures during the holiday season that we have to be very intentional, and very clear, about where we will invest. If you do not have time for your immediate family FIRST, than you really don’t have time for the others that want to spend time with you.
A few thoughts:
Spend time with your immediate Family
Teach your family the reason for the Holiday
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Go Special places
Your children would rather have happy, engaged parents than expensive things that will be broken before New Years. How many times have we all had to deal with bills from Christmas long after the lights were put away and the wrapping paper was thrown in the trash.
Develop a Christmas budget and determine how and how much you will spend this Christmas. Don’t take on a future financial pressure for a very temporary gift. Live and celebrate within your means.
Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
The holiday season (Thanksgiving thru New Years) really should be a wonderful time of the year. It will not be without its pressures or unpleasant moments, but it can be a time where we are able to focus on what is truly important in life while resetting for the year to come. But this will never happen if we don’t plan. Take some time today to sit down, alone or with your family, and map out the next few weeks. This simple act of preparation truly can make this year one to remember!