Pastor Mike's Corner

 

AH...the Holidays!

 

 

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la. There's no doubt, it's beginning to look a lot like....stress!!

Do you enjoy the holidays? Thanksgiving and Christmas, two major holidays on our calendar literally less than one month apart, are indeed joyous times of year. Turkey, stuffing, pie, rolls, candy, pies, ham, pies. Did I mention pie?

Thanksgiving gives us a unique opportunity to give thanks for all God has done. Christmas season, in some eyes, seems to begin the SAME DAY as Thanksgiving. Shopping ads show up in your mailbox, your email box, and everywhere elese you look. We are bombarded with reminders of what the season is NOT about. Hence, the stress.

Maybe you are like me. The season, though happy, joyous and festive, often has a dark side. A very dark side. While many enjoy the holidays to the utmost, many folks like me see the holidays like a deer on the road in front of your car going 55 MPH. It's scary to think about. Stress about whether or not to send Christmas cards (and if you leave anyone out at all, you, my friend, are on the naughty list...), who to buy for and WHAT to buy, A Christmas budget (budget? What's a Christmas budget?!?). And, of course, there's family. Where do you go on the holidays? Where do you not go? The dread of seeing Uncle Bob again at Thanksgiving can bring chills to your spine. Holidays, my friends, can be stressful. There's a reason the suicide rate is high at this time of year. Stress.

I am here to tell you, though, that you can choose not to participate in the stress. That's right, just opt out of the stress. Say  "no thank you" to the pressure to buy, the pressure from family, the pressure from the culture, the pressure from yourself. Just opt out. Don't participate. How does one do that?

Choose joy. Choose peace. Choose to look beyond the crazy stuff of the holidays, and look directly at Jesus. You see, when you focus on Him, and Him alone, that other stuff just seems to fade. Let Jesus guide you. Let Jesus direct you. After all, He is the reason for these seasons. We should focus on being thankful to Him (at Thanksgiving) and focus on the gift of the Savior (at Christmas). Choose not to participate in the stress, the pressure, the shopping hassles, the family quirks, the pressure to conform to someone else's version of the Holidays. Choose Jesus instead. Make the holidays about HIM.

So, want to get through the holidays? I think the better question is: Want to enjoy the holidays? Choose to opt out of the junk that makes it so stressful. Choose to focus on Jesus. Let me tell you, you will be happier person when you do. And, Hallmark will have nothing to do with it!