“If Christmas won’t be all I would like it to be with loved ones together this year, I need to change my perspective.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 30, 2021
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
I woke up sad this morning. As I bent over the bathroom sink to wash my face, I sighed, “Lord, I don’t know how to get ready for Christmas.”
What I meant was: Lord, I’m not really into Christmas this year. My heart hurts. Like it is for many people, I’m grieving losses this year and I am missing time with family members we won’t see again this holiday.
Some of it is our stage of life. Kids have grown and—while we are very grateful that they have all found their places in the world—we’re sad they all don’t live nearby. A couple have married and will be celebrating with their new families this year. Others aren’t able to travel. Parents on both sides of the family are getting older and will be alone this year. There simply isn’t any way with distance to bring everyone together and that hurts my heart. Then there is brokenness on both sides of our families. Fragmented relationships. Hurt feelings. Sometimes it’s just hard because the holidays trigger some difficult emotions. If I’m honest, I’m not in the Christmas spirit even just a little bit.
That said, if Christmas won’t be all I would like it to be with loved ones together this year, then I need to change my perspective. Because—as I often say—it’s not what happens to us in life that matters; it’s how we respond to life that matters.
If you can relate to what I have shared today, I pray you are encouraged as I encourage myself. Here are a few things to keep in mind when Christmas dreams disappoint.
He is Emmanuel: God With Us
I know the pain of feeling left out because I couldn’t travel—often due to expense—before I married at age 46. Maybe that’s why I feel for those in our family who will be alone this year. I grieve that my husband and I can’t bring everyone together.
One of the most blessed truths about the Lord is that He is omnipresent. He is everywhere with everyone. Before I fret about my mother being alone on December 25, one of our girls being alone, my father-in-law being alone and my brother being alone, I need to remember that He loves them more than I do and that He can be everywhere all at once. He truly is God with us.
I am reminding myself this very moment that where my husband and I cannot be, the Lord will be with them. And I can pray that the Lord will provide a loving place for them to celebrate.
Not only is the Lord with my loved ones, but He is also with me. He has a plan for this holiday and it’s a good plan. He is enough for the lacking places, the places that hurt because family is fragmented or missing.
Blessed Are the Flexible
The second thing that will help as my husband and I navigate a new normal for Christmas without all our loved ones is to remember that God is always on the move. He is always doing something new. At this time of life, what He is doing is giving our kids new families and He is establishing them in their careers—which are all things to be very grateful for. He has moved our parents into the later years of life, and every day we appreciate them more. He is giving us grandchildren. All of these changes are bringing holiday shifts. I am reminding myself today that I cannot expect things to remain the same as they were in years past. As time marches on, life changes, but God is still good. He never changes.
I pray I remain flexible to His movement and new ways. As I keep in step with what He is doing, I can experience the joy that comes with the anticipation of waiting to see what He is going to do next.
He is the Reason for the Season
Finally, remembering the true reason for Christmas can usher in joy! When I focus on who He is and not what I don’t have, I can experience His peace and you can too. Don’t forget who you serve and who saved you this holiday. He has come as the Light of the World and the Good News for all the earth!
How good He is!
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it” (Isaiah 43:19)?
Lord, please help me to hold loosely onto old traditions. Instead, help me to embrace the new that you have in store. And Lord, help me to rejoice with our kids and family members as they make their own lives in the world. And Jesus, please give me a spirit of anticipation for what you want to do in our lives in the future. Help me to lay down despair and pick up your mantle of hope. You are good. You are always good. And you always have good in store. Amen.
Are you disappointed about how Christmas is shaping up? Take your grief to God and embrace His new plan in anticipation and joy.
Austin Stone Worship: Emmanuel God with Us
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