I know how icky our emotions can seem at Christmastime. They bubble up and bubble over, and we panic. We don’t know what to do with these uncomfortable feelings, so we do anything and everything to not think about them. To brush them to the back of our minds. To forget they exist. And that seems to sort of work. At least temporarily. Until we are completely and utterly alone.
I'm afraid that if I loosen my grip on Maddy, she'll become less close with me and become closer to her other friends. Ultimately, if I don't grasp the reigns of our relationship, I'm scared it will become shallow...and perhaps even nonexistent. I'm not saying that I'm going to let go of my relationship with Maddy. But grasping this relationship so tightly is making me exhausted. So who should I grasp instead?
I hope this post won’t sound like a lecture. Rather, I hope it will give you the encouragement you need to start the new year with peace. Because you don’t need to start 2020 feeling discouraged, hopeless, or ashamed.
I definitely don’t have a problem with being hopeful for the future. Rather, I have a problem with being patient in the present. But the present is where we are.
It’s not sinful for you to feel un-Christmassy. It’s okay if you believe you’ve lost your Christmas spirit. You can’t force yourself to feel a certain way, but you can force yourself to focus on the truth about Christmas. And if you’ve lost your Christmas spirit, maybe you’ve been looking for it in the wrong place
It really doesn’t make sense that we worry about Christmas. After all, the angel told Joseph, Mary, and the shepherds not to be afraid (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:30, Luke 2:10). Christmas only becomes fear-full when we begin to focus on ourselves and what we can get out of it. Can you relate to any of the 3 greatest fears we have about Christmas?
If you feel discouraged about working incredibly hard for someone and not getting what you think you deserve, remember God’s grace toward you. We deserved death. We had earned eternal sorrow and shame. But before we had even sinned, Christ gave us the abundant life—free from sin’s shackles—that He had earned.
Our feelings change dramatically as we get older. Now they are deeper, longer-lasting, and more painful. They consume more of our lives than they did when we were five. Even though our emotions are now harder to deal with, I want to tell you a little secret: our emotions do not have to control us.
I don’t have a magical feeling this Christmas. I don’t feel exhilarated or elated. Sure, I enjoy baking cookies, Christmas shopping, and watching classic movies with my family; but I don’t feel particularly happy. If you can relate, then all I have to say is to trust the facts, not your feelings. God’s truth is more reliable than your roller-coaster of emotions.
We all have a “thorn in the flesh,” even the ones who seem the strongest. (They just hide it well.) We suffer so that God’s great power can be magnified to the world. He can still use us, even in suffering, pain, and weariness. He can still use us even when we are tormented by “a messenger of Satan” (whether it be a lie, a doubt, or a fear). He can use you.