I’m dreaming of a [realistic] Christmas

Why does television still boast the gold standard of the perfect Christmas?  Family (who by the way, actually want to be together) gathered around a beautiful tree, everyone laughing and sharing hot cocoa, and giving each other either a new car or expensive jewelry. Every time I see it I can’t help but go, Psh, Yeah right!

Reality check: Only God knows how many people will feel the sting of a lonesome Christmas devoid of peace. It’s just a painful reminder of what is lacking.

And each year, medication is taken in the form of Christmas movies, sweets, shopping, and tons of eggnog help to distract from and numb the pain of reality. All we need, we tell ourselves, is “to get through the holidays”.

But we were formed by God for perfection. Our hearts were meant to live in a perfect world. That’s why we will never be able to find peace anywhere else but in God himself. Christmas as we see it in commercials doesn’t have it. Rather:

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8

God sent Jesus to be born here, to live a sinless life, and then to die on behalf of us. That we might repent and turn toward God, praising and glorifying Him. But how can we do that when we have so many confusing messages turning our heads this way and that?

I don’t have all the answers, but I know the One who does.

If you are struggling with the idea of another [insert adjective here] Christmas you’re not alone. There is a God who is Good and True. Your very existence and design was His idea and he is enormously proud of His work. His right hand is extended even now, to gift you with a kind of peace that will never allow you to hunger or thirst for the things that rot and rust (like a Toyota Christmas commercial). He will offer Living Water and Bread of Life that will keep you full and satisfied forever.

Receive that gift and watch it transform your heart. The gratitude of salvation causes hope, which is an ever-leaning upon God’s promises. The more we take His promises as unshakable truth in our life, the more we will witness His work in our lives. And that’s an expectation you can rely upon.

My Weakness, His Strength †

 

I failed again, for the umpteenth time. I set out to meditate on good, but my mind barely goes as far as judgement or hate –whichever makes me feel the best about myself at the time. I no sooner finish dedicating my day to Love, than I turn around and say something passive-aggressive to my husband. I hate it when people stand too close to me in the supermarket (is it just me??) so I allow my annoyance to affect others and I sulk out of the store like I have a stormy rain cloud overhead.

I mean, come on, what is wrong with me?!  Don’t I know what I am to do? Can’t even one word of God’s penetrate my thick skull enough to change one action of mine? To paraphrase Paul’s famous (and more eloquent) speech from Romans chapter 7 :  I do what I hate, and I don’t do what I want to do.

Here’s what I learned: Just by indulging myself in a pity-party, I have allowed the enemy to win. He can’t stand it when we walk closer with God. He HATES when we are victorious over temptation through Jesus’ help. It infuriates him when we return to God after stumbling into sin. Satan prefers that we remain face down in the muck of our failings, believing the lie that we are too far gone to have hope for salvation.

But the Lord has said:

large

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Let us give glory to God when the Spirit helps us return to our Father, along the way of righteousness! There’s nothing we can do that pleases God more than running back to apologize and try again with an earnest heart. The peace that this thought brings makes all temporary pleasures pass away in comparison.

Judge yourself by what Christ is rather than by what you are.

Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections:

you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.

-Charles Spurgeon, Mornings and Evenings