The pendulum of the holiday experience swings far and wide. As we gear up for the holiday rush, we thought it would be nice to pause and reflect on how, even in this season, our lives should be a reflection of Christ and not a mirror image of the world around us.
For some, this season is warm, festive, and full of the perfect fixings to create an atmosphere of cheer. This is the time of year to reconnect with family, feast over decadent family recipes, and spread generosity for all of the people in your world.
The holiday season can feel different to everyone
For others, the holiday season is challenging to navigate; the triggers from a childhood of disappointment, processing grief for loved one’s who have passed on, financial burdens of meeting expectations of what the holidays “should” look like. Family gatherings can be full of anxiety as some people sit face to face with abusers and dysfunction. Or the person who finds themselves alone when it seems like everyone should always have somewhere to go.
If you’ve lived life long enough, you can most likely look back through the years and view a certain holiday based on how life treated you then. Unlike birthdays, where we get to decide how much we want to acknowledge and celebrate the occasion, there’s no escaping the reality of Thanksgiving and Christmas. If we’re careful, a birthday can slip by without much fuss, allowing us to conduct ourselves however we see fit without much challenge from the world or those who love us most.
The challenge of global holidays, which literally last for months on end, can feel all-consuming. Our culture becomes engulfed in the ideas of what it means to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. To the point where it’s become socially acceptable to load credit cards with gifts and decor that we can’t afford. This time of year creates an environment where all things are permissible under the guise of celebration. Decisions we would generally make with self-control and balance gets a resounding “it’s the holidays” stamp of approval that excuses all accountability.
On the flip-side, when the holidays are full of hard memories and pain, we’ve accepted that the individuals who aren’t in the mood to celebrate are simply characters like the Grinch or Scrooge in our personal movie called life.
SCriptures to Meditate on and practice this season
Let’s reimagine our approach to this season that will always be a part of our world. We are reminded of two particular scriptures as we set the stage for you to reimagine Thanksgiving and Christmas:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12
When we examine these two scriptures, we can walk away seeing that we have the beauty and freedom to approach every day as Thanksgiving and Christmas as believers.
Live a life that feels like the holidays each day
This time of year should be the world catching up to our posturing all year long. The world’s intentionality in making the holidays special for 3 months out of the year is what our hearts should be all year long. The generosity that the world puts on display should be a sliver of what we do all year long.
For the believer, our focus is to bring a spirit of thanksgiving in all seasons. As Paul reminds us in Philippians, the secret of living, regardless of life’s difficulties, is simple. Trust God in such a way that one can say, I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
So as you gear up for this holiday season, we want to challenge you to keep your focus on the main thing, Jesus Christ.
How can we create an atmosphere that doesn’t look just like the world with spirituality sprinkled throughout? How can we live a life that feels like the holidays each day? We have the secret, we have the gift of Jesus Christ, and that’s what should shine brightest in this season.