Sometimes during this tremendously busy time of the year we may find ourselves a little low on Christmas joy. There are many reasons we may have a lack of peace at the holidays. If this is not you, you may have someone in your life that this could help you, "Be," an instrument of peace and help them through the holidays.
Peace-Stealer #1: DOUBT
Have you ever felt let down or deserted by God? In full transparency, I am finding myself in this vortex of doubt right now. I'm struggling with several bad things that happened to me recently. I am also experiencing a lack of faith in my discernment to truly hear from God. I have never been in this place in my spiritual walk, so it is perplexing and depressing to me. Sometimes things happen to us and there is no obvious answer as to why God would allow it to happen. I'm reminded of the scripture, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."
~ Proverbs 3: 5, 6. I don't have to understand right now why these things have happened, but I do have to trust God to carry me. There are storms all around me and yet will I praise Him! That's how you overcome doubt.
Peace-Stealer #2: OVER-OBLIGATING
At this time of the year, there are numerous charitable causes, outreach opportunities, parties, shopping, gift-wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning, and the list goes on. When we are rushing here and rushing there, it is tremendously difficult to be in the moment at times and to savor life. You definitely want to be charitable in some way. Toy drives, donations, and helpful giving are part of the season and very valuable to helping you feel peace. But just pick one or two, not everything. Definitely hit a party or two, but not every one you're invited to. Reserve most of your energy for the day with your family. Take pictures, laugh, tell stories, and enjoy each other.
Peace-Stealer #3: FAMILY PROBLEMS
There may be rifts in your family. There may be family members you don't really want to be around. You may have a family member in re-hab. There may be strife in your marriage. There are so many things happening in families that I know. These are all serious problems. There are a few things you can do to deal with this. First pray and ask God what you need to say, do or be to certain family members. Allow God to place forgiveness in your heart and be the one to extend the olive branch. Forgiveness. If you have some marital issues, try to make the choice to be the peace maker in the relationship. Often, we are so set on being right, we marinate in bitterness and it takes root in your heart. Allow God to work on you first and see what happens.
Peace-Stealer #4: LACK OF CASH
There is so much pressure for purchasing gifts and what to get someone without looking cheap. There are some years, we just need to cut back without an apology. If you receive a gift, simply say, "Thank you! That's so thoughtful!" Don't say, "I'm sorry. I don't have anything for you." Just say thank you. You may want to draw names for the large family, so everyone only brings one gift. Or agree that you just do gifts for the children this year. Unless you have put away a little cash all year, it can be a tremendous financial pressure when it comes to gift choices. If you are a, "Crafty Chick," consider making hand made gifts you can find on Pinterest or baked goods. Or for someone really special: A Scrapbook. Hand made gifts are so special! You may even want to write a letter and put it in a beautiful envelope. That is a gift of the heart that the recipient will remember and treasure forever.
Peace-Stealer #5: NEGLECTING GOD
The most important thing at Christmas and everyday of your life is to nurture your relationship with God. Wise men (and women) still seek Him. If you are dashing here and there, we may neglect our time with God. The further away from fellowship with Him, the bigger our peace deficit. Reserve some quiet time to read the Bible and listen to music. Don't forget after you pray, to be quiet for a few minutes so that God can speak to you. Make some time to read the Christmas Story if you have small children. Attend church with your family, celebrate Jesus, and get rejuvenated in your spirit. We read in Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
May the Spirit and Joy of Christmas Fill You with His Powerful Peace, this Christmas and Always.