Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Truth About Holidays

It's that time of year.  I'm talking about Thanksgiving; but if you set foot outside, you might be a little confused.  That's certainly understandable.

After all, I've been to the grocery store six times this week.  Hustling and bustling is how we seem to be rolling.  Traffic jams, crowded parking lots, and not enough parking spaces become the way it is these days.  With every trip, I pass the beginnings of decked halls.  I turn on the radio and the music world is starting to fill the airways with Santa Claus coming to town and jingle bells.  Elves are popping up in houses and kids are quickly filling up their Christmas lists.  Festive lights are already brightening the night skies!

Let me just be honest.  These symbols of good tidings are starting to stress me out.  I can't help it because I haven't had a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving yet.  When I see the sea of red and green, my mind starts drowning in all the things I have to do to get ready for the holidays that I HAVEN'T DONE YET.  I begin to feel overwhelmed.  I get tense and nervous that I haven't done enough at this point, that I won't be able to get it all done in time.  Before I know it, I am stuck worrying about my tomorrows.

Yep.  Holidays are funny, really.  We assign ourselves certain dates to do what we should do everyday.  I am not suggesting we eat holiday-style every day, of course.  I am just saying holidays are a time we mean to stop, enjoy, and be appreciative.  Yet, if we aren't purposeful, holidays easily become another giant distraction, an item on our to-do lists, another part of our routine from which we so desperately need a break.  

I fight it year after year.  

Here's the truth.  Holidays aren't about the glitzy decorations, the place settings of fine china and polished silver, the clean house, the stylish outfits we wear, or the deliciousness of the food we eat.  

Nope.  Holidays aren't about what we see at all.  That's why it's so easy to miss the point.  It's not about the ball drop and good luck for the New Year.  It's not about Cupid on Valentine's, the shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day, the bunny and eggs at Easter, the food at Thanksgiving, or the presents at Christmas.  

Holidays are about what is unseen and everlasting.  Relationships and the gifts of God's grace are where we find the heart and soul in our holidays.  I am realizing it's a matter of my perspective.  I can experience the holidays on my own, with blurred vision, or with the clarity of God's amazing love and grace.

Holidays bring us together no matter what else is going on in our lives.  They are a planned opportunity to nurture our relationship with Christ by nurturing our relationships with others.  Holidays remind us to celebrate, with thankful hearts, all our Mighty God is doing in us, through us, and for us.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

We find the real meaning in our holidays when we remember that God is in our midst right now.  

That is a gift.

Not only that, He loves and values each one of us.  

There is power and purpose in celebrating today, no matter what day it is.  Holiday or not.

Today is Thanksgiving.  

Planning and purposefulness.  Groceries and gathering.  Conversations and cooking.  Time and turkey.  Family, friends, and feasting.  Pies and prayers.  Gratefulness and graciousness.  Stories and stuffing.  Lovin' and laughter.  Thankful and thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving.  But more importantly, I love God.

I am thankful for what God has done.

I am thankful for what God will do.

Most of all, I am thankful that He is with me right now, always blessing me with everything I truly need. 

I want to stop and get this holiday right.  

Don't worry.  Your holiday may not be what you planned or imagined.  The house may be a mess.  The rooms may be too loud.  Some of your people may be arguing.  Your kids may be half-undressed and mismatched.  A person in your space may be getting on your last nerve.  The turkey may be taking way too long to cook.  You may be missing a loved one terribly.  Someone may be sick.  If it's anything like my house, you may not even be able to think straight at times.

It's okay.

Embrace the gifts God has given you.  Hold on to them.  Love them.  They are here, full of God's purpose, in all the chaos of the holidays and in all your day to day routines.  They are right in front of you (and me).  God has put them in your life for a reason.

Take the time today to be still, even if it's just for a single moment.  

Breathe in God's presence.  Look into the eyes of those around you and get a beautiful glimpse of God's grace looking back at you.  

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

That's the secret to holidays (and the truth).

Happy Thanksgiving!

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank you for being in my midst.  Thank you for blessing me beyond measure with your grace and all that I need.  I pray that you will fill me (as well as those on my mind today) with your hope, Lord, your joy, and your peace by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Help our hearts remember to trust you.  I especially pray for those who are hurting this holiday season.  Heal them and comfort them with your mighty, loving, embrace.  I praise your Holy Name, today and always.

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Love of Christ,


Meet some of my new sisters in faith….and welcome to my blog if you are reading for the first time.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate this post. My favorite part was this: "Embrace the gifts God has given you." I have found that being grateful for what I HAVE greatly diminishes my disappointment about what I don't have. So glad you are a part of SDG!