January 3, 2017

Hope for the Holiday

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 3, 2017

By Shana Schutte

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

In 2014, I spent my first Christmas with my new family after I married. The holiday reminded me that life is a paradox. It’s filled with blessings and pain, grieving and gratitude, joy and tears. You see, I had great fun on December 25th as I celebrated with my new husband and his family for the first time. It was a total kick baking and frosting sugar cookies, sharing stories, and laughing while playing Catch Phrase until I cried. It was a joy cooking my first Christmas turkey for a joyful group of kids (Hallelujah! My cooking didn’t kill anyone!) And, of course, it was awesome celebrating Jesus.

But perhaps like you have during the holidays, I also experienced moments of grief. I missed my family, and especially my grandma who was wrestling with Alzheimer’s. And I felt compassionate sadness when I heard stories of people I have never met who suffered during the holiday: A mother’s ten-year-old son passed away unexpectedly. A woman’s friend had a lung transplant. An aunt grieved her nephew’s murder. A man celebrated Christmas alone since his wife abandoned him. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. . .” but the great news is that Christ calls us to hope—because there is always hope. Philippians 4:8 says. . .

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

This scripture is an invitation to focus on that which is good even while we grieve, because there is always something good in life. Even though life is filled with difficulties, it’s also filled with blessings, with that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy. If it were not so, God wouldn’t call us to think on these things.

Focusing on the positive isn’t just nice. When the storms of life rage, it can make the difference between experiencing the internal life promised by Christ, and feeling like we are experiencing internal death. Actually doing Philippians 4:8 is a fight for courage; it’s a fight for abundant life; it’s a fight for the life God created you for. It’s serious spiritual business.

Philippians 4:8 also isn’t about the power of self, of believing in a false “power of me” that some wrongly preach. It’s about agreeing with what God has said is true, focusing on His blessings, and choosing to find the good in life right where you are. It’s about finding Christ and His truth in your circumstances.

May this truth give you hope this Christmas.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).



“Lord, thank you that even though the emotions of this season can be mixed that there is always hope because you are hope. Help me to focus on all that is good this year.  Amen.”


Take a moment to thank the Lord for all His blessings today.

Related Reading

James 3:17; Romans 12:9-21; Galatians 5:22

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God’s love is an invitation to focus on that which is good even while we grieve, because He is always good. #WisdomHunters #ThereIsAlwaysHope

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