The Christmas season is a lot of peoples favourite time of year but for some it's far from pleasant. My friend works in retail, and the impatience and swearing that comes along with the Christmas season has already begun. Who knew that not being able to open an extra till because it is already closed for the day and having to go back to one of three lines that were open, would quickly unravel some customer's whole day. Two were so upset that they threw down their merchandise on the counter and swearing loudly stormed out of the store. This can definitely be a difficult time of year and my heart goes out to those who are suffering through it. This difficult time of Christmas originated with Jesus being born as a baby who ironically came to save us and help us through the difficult times in life. He is the reason for the season. However by leaving Jesus out of Christmas, the materialism, business and time spent with family can turn into more of a problem than a joyful celebration.
Jesus came to give us peace and joy and it is available to all who have a relationship with Him. . But many don't include a relationship with Jesus in their holidays festivities and that peace and joy is missing them completely. Jesus was born in a stable to bring peace and joy to all mankind but this "best gift ever" is only available to those who will accept it and open their hearts to Jesus. If someone gives you a gift but you don't take it or open it, you don't get to enjoy it or use it. So how do we receive and open this Christmas gift of Salvation from God? Receiving starts with us acknowledging that we sin and that our sin separates us from having a relationship with God. Jesus was born as a baby so that he could grow into a man who dealt with this sin problem by dying on the cross. Jesus was God come down to earth as a human and he did not sin at all while living on earth, so when he died on the cross that qualified him to be our substitute. This might make more sense if I get Canadian and use hockey to explain. If the goalie gets a penalty he does not serve the penalty in the box because he is the goalie. What happens is another team member sits in the box and serves the penalty for the goalie while the goalie stays in the net. Someone had to pay the price of our sin so that we could be reunited with God and that is what Jesus did on the cross: he sat in the penalty box for us and served our penalty. He served our time so that if we are sorry for our sin and commit to stop sinning we no longer need to be penalised for our sin but God wipes our slate clean and forgives us all our wrong. We can then begin a relationship with the God who created the universe. Besides asking for and receiving forgiveness for our sin we also start this relationship with God by humbly giving God ultimate control of our lives. Basically we yield ourselves completely to God and let Him be the boss. Once God has control of our lives he can direct them in such a better way than we directed them. Then He can lead us in the ways that bring us peace and joy and freedom. Our Christmas can be transformed into a good season.
Even those who have a relationship with Jesus can miss the peace and joy if they get caught up in the rushing and trails and excessive business of Christmas. Sometimes we do not actually give Jesus of all areas of our life but desperately clutch at control. We don't leave our concerns in His capable hands but ruminate in them, and our peace is quickly stolen away. Without trust in God, worry is free to grow unchecked and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Faith is like an umbrella to protect us from the rain of worry.
The continuous drip of worry has stolen so much joy from my life. I am not sure why I have been so reluctant to replace worry with faith? Maybe I did not notice how much worrying I actually do. About 3 months ago I prayed and asked God to heal the emotional part of me. It has been such a revealing journo since then. God has been showing me all the messed up things that happen in my brain and one of the main things is the actual extent of my worrying. I think on average I worry probably once every three minutes! My mind is so full of fear and concern it is no wonder I am on anti- depressants. I can't enjoy life because I am continually pouring toxic thoughts out of mind that poison my outlook on everything. I need AAA for worriers so I can stand up and say "Hi my name is Kristen Webb and I have a problem with worry" and then get help for my addiction. Good thing our church offers an emotional 12 step program and I am in it right now! It has pointed me in the right direction to find healing and freedom.
The prescription for healing is to take all your worries to God and drop them (actually let go) into God's capable hands. When you are tempted to take the worry back - trust God to handle the issues! Peacefully look to God for the solutions to all the problems in your life. I discovered that all my planning and scheming was not a really good solution to my troubles. Instead I give God that responsibility and confidently listen to his voice for the answers and then simply obey him and do what he suggests. This faith we put in God enables us to let go of the worry and fear and replace it with peace and confident expectation of solutions. The Bible says that God gives us beauty for ashes which sounds way to good to be true. That is exactly what God has done for me. As I give him the ashes of worry and fear he replaces it with the beauty of faith followed by peace. I needed to learn to trust God with my life because then even before the answer gets to you you can still have peace and joy while you wait :) This is a truly amazing way to live and more fun than when my mind was overrun with concern because I was tightly holding onto the control of my life.