:The holidays are more than just putting up decorations, getting presents, and not having to go to school. Here are 4 things that we want you to remember this holiday season.
1.The reason for the season
Don’t be fooled by the sales, the presents, or the decked out houses. We celebrate Christmas for a very important reason, and it isn’t because of Santa! You’re on the right track when thinking about a person, though. The right answer is that we celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, the decorations, presents, and carols are some of the best things about Christmas, but none compare to the real reason we celebrate- That God loves us so much that he sent his Son to us.
For some, Christmas is a time filled with anxiety and stress. Whether it’s unfinished family drama or the inability to give loved ones gifts, the holiday season isn’t always enjoyed by all. It’s when the focus shifts to the birth of our Savior that the holiday season is truly filled with magical joy.
People often times use joy and happy as synonyms, although recently we’ve learned that they might not be the same. While they are similar, there is a distinct difference between the two. You can be happy one day and not another, right? Happiness changes like the weather. On the contrary, joy is deeply rooted within.
For those familiar with the book of Philippians, it is known as the book of joy. In short, it’s a book told from the perspective of a man, Paul, who was in prison. He lost everything he had and was sent behind bars. During the lowest valley of his life, he wrote words of encouragement, hope, joy, and strength. A man behind bars was overjoyed by the love of Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine being behind bars and having anything positive to say, let alone thanking God for my life.
Paul’s joy did not come from frolicking in a meadow, free from chains. It did not come from self-satisfaction or his favorite foods. Because he knew the Gospel is true, Paul’s joy came only from Christ.
-She Reads Truth
This holiday season remember where to find your joy!
3. Thankfulness & Reflection
Being thankful isn’t only for Thanksgiving, ya’know. Thankfulness is just one part of a joyful life.
This Christmas be thankful for many things, whether it be family, friends, warmth, access to education, clean water, etc. Everything good around you is something to be thankful for because it was given to you by God.
Being thankful means reflecting on what you have. We are often so blinded by materialistic things in this world that we don’t truly see what we have been given. While some people are asking for a new iPhone for Christmas, others are just praying that they have a warm place to sleep or the right to express themselves.
One way that we chose to express our gratitude to God is by choosing to provide for somebody despite our low income. We chose to trust God and sacrifice things that we may desire to buy in order to support a little girl in Haiti. While we may know that our next paycheck will not be large, we know that there will be one and we are trusting that God will support us so that we can support her.
Everyone should look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others
4. Slow down!
The holidays tend to be so fast-paced. You go to your relative’s house, eat, talk, open presents, and before you know it you’re already putting your coats back on to leave.
You may think that you can do it all this holiday season, but be reminded that even the Lord needed rest.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work
Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem on one of the busiest times in years and years- there was a census and everybody needed to return to their hometown, which means that the inns were packed full. By the time Mary and Joseph got there, there was no place in all of the town for them to go. The innkeeper told them there was no room and sent them off, not knowing that he had just sent away our Savior to be born in a stable. This innkeeper was so busy and stressed in preparation for all of his guests that he failed to even show a pregnant woman a place to stay, a woman who, during that time period, would have normally been cared for by her family. If the innkeeper had slowed down to spend time with those given to him, he would’ve changed the entire story that we know today. He would’ve been able to share compassion with others instead of worrying only about his own life struggles.
Slow down. Show compassion, even to strangers. Enjoy what and who has been given to you. Reflect on what has been given to you. Spend quality time with those around you. Remember who blesses you with these things.
Remember the joy that is within you and spread that joy to others this holiday season.
-Alison & Trevor