“Tis the season to be jolly…”
Sure, if you are a credit card company. Or a long distance phone company. Or a toy manufacturer. It’s the season to be jolly if you happen to own a mall.
If you don’t fit in one of those four categories, it’s the season of financial pressure; facing up to the end of the year with little or no money set aside. It’s the season to feel bad that you didn’t do any better financially than you did. It’s the season to break out the credit cards and wince.
It’s the season that many families will be paying off in monthly installments for the next twelve months. And, even with going in debt, buying things you really can’t afford, your kids will probably still think you’re a tightwad. They’ve seen and been pumped up to want hundreds of dollars’ worth of worthless overpriced imported toys and clothes.
Then, there are the emotional assaults. We’re in the season where there are the highest incidents of anxiety and depression. You might be able to keep on top throughout the whole rest of the year, but in December? WHAM! It hits you upside the head and won’t back off!
What to do? Jesus said in Luke 12:29, “Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind, for all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Heavenly Father KNOWETH that ye have need of these things.”
What He’s saying: Don’t make your goal to be acquiring more and more possessions. For yourself or for anybody else. That’s not a worthy goal. Not worth worrying about. Don’t worry about the basics. They’ll be there. You’re not alone, and God KNOWS what your needs are.
God knows your needs, and He cares. That’s a main point that Jesus made for a higher purpose than to just acquire and hoard possessions. God has planted in your heart the NEED to accomplish something worthwhile and good for other people.
You and I are made in the image of God. It’s that image of God that drives us to want to give, love, provide for others and make a difference. And, that’s the part that feels grieved when, at the end of the year, it seems like we’ve done little of importance…once again.
You’re BORN with that sense of eternity, and the desire to seek and to search for meaning and purpose. Because you’re not a mere animal, material things and accomplishments provide only temporary comfort, but then, leave us feeling as weak, empty and like something’s missing, as we were before.
I’m telling you that, to tell you THIS. Toys, clothes, appliances and high tech gizmos WON’T satisfy your kids, friends and loved ones. These things will have meaning as TOKENS of your love and care, but in themselves, they won’t provide meaning and lasting satisfaction.
The good news is, that NOT having these things won’t bring lasting hurt, pain, disappointment or grief? That is, as long as your loved ones KNOW that you love them and care deeply for them.
Material things don’t satisfy, and, the lack of material things won’t devastate! You FIRST have to deal with your own expectations, then you’re free to relax and give of yourself, and from your heart.
Your Heavenly Father, Jesus says, KNOWS your heart, and that you have a need to give to your need, and He cares.
Priority One? Getting to know Him better. This is the season when your spirit is especially sensitive to God, joy, meaning in life and relationships. This is the time to spend specific, quality time with God, to get to know Him better and to understand His plans and purposes in your life more fully.
It’s a time for opening your Bible and getting familiar with it, reading it with “new eyes.” Read while asking Him to speak to you, giving you good understanding. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you as you read the Scriptures.
Part of dealing with anxiety and depression is to bring your life to God, and ask Him to direct your plans and path this year. You’ll want to spend time with Him, and get to know His mind for your life.
You might be discouraged because things haven’t worked out like you’d planned this year. Maybe God didn’t bless you like you’d wanted, or he didn’t seem to use you very much.
This is a matter of hungering and thirsting for God. It’s just like with regular food and drink, when you’re hungry or thirsty, you DO SOMETHING about it. When you are hungry or thirsty for more of God, you’ll DO something about it. Jesus said that “blessed ones” hunger and thirst after the Kingdom of God. That’s in Matthew 5:6.
Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness SHALL be filled. Don’t hunger and thirst after THINGS. Hunger and thirst after God.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” That’s the order. God first, and then, only then, things will be released into your life. Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Here’s the order: First the spiritual, then the material. Colossians 3:1 says to set your affections on the things that are above it doesn’t do any good to be rich in earthly things but poor in spiritual things.
Don’t LOVE things. Love God, love people and love your pets. Good rule of thumb: Don’t love anything that can’t return your love.
You’ve got to prepare your heart. In Ezra 7:10, it says that God’s hand moved on Ezra’s life for good because, “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach (others).” He wanted to know God, to walk with Him and to impart what he had learned to others. You have to PREPARE for the good that God has planned for you.
Make room for God in your schedule. Give him a definite time slot, or appointment each day. Then LOOK for opportunities, as for them and make room for God to work in your life.
Take every opportunity to seek God. When depression, fear or anxiety show up and they are signals to DO SOMETHING.
These negative emotions are like the warning lights on the dash-board of your car. They’re saying, “Pull over and do a check up, find what’s missing and fill it up!”
Deal with the emptiness, and the fullness will take care of itself. Don’t let despair ruin your holidays. Love isn’t measured in cash register receipts or credit card bills. Give your loved ones the gift of BEING THERE FOR THEM. Of PRAYING for them and with them, of listening, really listening to them. Them if you have a little money, buy them a token of your esteem for them. You’ll ALL be happier, and more relaxed.
Give God thee best gift of all this Christmas. Give Him our whole heart, your life, and your financial situations. Give Him your friendships. Speak to your friends and co-workers about Him. Invite them to sit with you in church this week.
Jesus said, “Fear not, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom (Luke 12:32).” Also, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth (Luke12:15).”
Jesus said also in Mark 8:36 “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the WHOLE world and lose his soul?” what if you get your kid EVERYTHING on his or her list, and don’t teach them how to know Jesus?
This year, cast your cares on the Lord. Don’t worry so much about what you can and can’t buy. Think more about what you’re becoming, the kind of person you’re turning out to be. Put God first, and your Christmas season will be all it’s cracked up to be, and more!”