It’s the most wonderful time of the year, music tells us. And we want to believe that. The Hallmark movie Christmas countdown is on (adios productivity). Beautiful lights are strung outside. And, people are publically counting their thanks while preparing for turkey dinners.
This time of year erupts in joyousness otherwise kept quieter.
This is good and right. To pause and give gratitude for what we do have keeps life in perspective. To point to the Giver postures our focus on Hope.
Yet for some, this is the most lonely time of year, Christians included. I remember writing the Christmas letter the year my father died. I know the confusion I felt with my God when another calendar year would pass without a positive pregnancy test to begin the family my husband and I both longed for.
Broken dreams and overwhelming disappointment can make us feel like a fake this time of year. When the mental expectations we set for what the holiday experience should be doesn’t match the reality of our life we question if who we claim to be is who we really are. We juggle what we know to be True with what feel in our hearts.
This unsettling feeling makes us feel something of an island from others. Even from God.
I know some of you feel like your soul is dying because you’ve told me over coffee or hugged me in hallways or written me your stories. You’re crying out to God with desperate hope that your put-together mask doesn’t crack and trying not to scream at the busy materialism of our culture and restraining yourself from throwing things at the radio for words that hit shallow or worse, make you feel like a bad Christian.
I’ve been there and the ebb and flow of life pretty much ensures that I will be again.
And today I have good news that I didn’t see in my rocky holidays but that I will never allow myself to forget.
Isaiah 41:10 is one of my absolute FAVORITE Scriptures. It reads, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Do you see it?
We tend to originate success or failure in ourselves during the holiday season but God gifts us zero expectation days, imploring that we quit working out of our own energy and fall into His.
If it be in your heart to sing loud and count with abandon then do so. I can only imagine how it delights our God. But if you’re shriveling inside and struggling to find voice, you remain just as right with Him. In your being nothing He can be everything and THAT is a Spirit-filled holiday.
Quit trying so hard. Quit putting the integrity of your faith on trial.
The Lord sits with you.
The Lord is strengthening you.
The Lord will uphold you.
You are intimately communing with the One these holidays are all about. (The only right goal for the masses.) Fruit is sure to come.
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