"And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
Well, here it is, the end of another Christmas! We are now looking at a whole new year and all that is headed our way in 2011. I lie here on the couch, having pulled a muscle yesterday, I have my computer on my lap, with the ice packs on my back. I begin to look at my blog then I see a function at the top of my blog page that says, "next blog". Okay, so I decide that I want to explore the other blogs and wee what other people are saying. The first one, I found a blog by a teacher that had her adoption plans fall through and she was crying all the way through Christmas. Okay, on to the next blog and this one explains how lonely this Christmas was since the death of her parent and she was trying to find a way through her loss during the Holidays. Now I am seeing the Grinch in all those blogs and I think that I better get on to my emails. Now in my emails, I read about people that are coping with lost jobs and incomes and then a woman dealing with her husband telling her that he wants a divorce. Hey guys, this is CHRISTMAS! You know, jingle bells, Winter Wonderland and the perfect Holidays with lights, presents, food and family. Well, the reality is, that life goes on and life is not perfect! What can really be the Grinch that steals Christmas, are those expectations that life has to be "perfect" during the Holidays! No, life goes on and so does unemployment, divorce, addictions, disappointment etc. What Christmas does for us is to give us hope because Christ is the gift! Jesus is the hope we can hold onto in the midst of "life". Expectations that things have to be wonderful, perfect and happy during the Holidays, sets us up for failure and disappointment. I heard a preacher say the other day, that we are to ask ourselves the question, "would this hurt less, if it was not Christmas?" That was a great reminder, that when we get disappointed or even rejected, does it hurt more because it is the Holiday? I too had a disappointment during the Holiday, when a family member did not show up for the Christmas Eve Service. I wanted to cry but I remember what I heard and I used a "measuring stick question"...."would I be as upset if it were not Christmas?". My answer was no. This meant that I had a greater expectation during the Holidays and that life does not depend or rely on circumstances that were around me. True joy is having the love of Christ in my heart and it does not go up and down, according to my circumstances. I heard once, "let not the circumstances of your life, define the circumstances of your heart". That is the difference between joy and happiness! I can have joy in my heart all the time because of my relationship with God. Happiness is temporary because it comes from external circumstances. Now I know how important the scripture is, "the joy of the Lord is my strength"! Let us really understand that we do have hope in this life and it came into this world in the form of a little baby, and his name is Jesus! He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow! Jesus brings hope into the world.
Question: Are you going through some tough times during the Holidays? You can find perfect peace and joy through Jesus today!