This time of year, when Christmas commercials start shouting for my attention, I feel a little like I’m teetering on a precipice. Ahead is the whirlwind that is the Christmas season, threatening to suck me into non-stop cooking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, serving, baking, cleaning, hosting, traveling and sometimes difficult family interactions. All while schooling, discipling and at least maintaining the appearance I’m an adequate, effective homeschool Mom. It is almost a matter of routine for me to reach January first exhausted and depressed. But holidays aren’t supposed to be that way.
God filled the calendar year with regular opportunities to pause and celebrate; remembering all we’ve received and offer thanks to God. A heart of joy and contentment grows best in the soil of gratitude and thankfulness. It’s the enemy’s plan and the world’s expectation that we fall into holiday busyness and worry and spending too much. So before Thanksgiving, which should be a time of thanks-giving, I’m pressing pause (just for a minute!) to meditate on grace. God owes us nothing, yet has given us everything. All we have, from salvation to the bread on our tables, has come from the generous hand of God. Grace wiped away our sin; adopted us into the family of God; granted us relationship with our Creator and assured our eternal future—every bit of it an undeserved gift. If that doesn’t make me thankful, what would?
This year I’m throwing a barricade across the road that leads to post-holiday depression by reflecting on the tremendous blessings I already have. Since God has already given me everything that truly matters, perhaps it isn’t quite as important that my holiday look like a Hallmark special. Perhaps I can delete some of the ‘must do,’ ‘must have’ items on my list. If you look at the biblical feasts, God intended that holidays refresh us by reminding us what is truly important. I recently heard the feasts distilled down to “They tried to kill us; God rescued us; let’s eat!” What else do we need?
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.