Thanksgiving is less than a week away and shortly after that Christmas will be here. These things come upon us so fast that many of us don’t think about thoughtfully preparing for the holiday season. As I sit here getting myself prepared to go over the hills and through the snow (literally) to grandma’s house, (my mom) I was stopped short by the thought of how unprepared I am for this season. So as I am writing this dear reader, I am also being quiet and listening for the still small voice of the Lord in how He would like me to prepare for this holiday season.
Preparing for the holiday season is a spiritual exercise.
In our world of commercialism and Madison Avenue Marketing, we forget that both Thanksgiving and Christmas are times that are supposed to lift us up spiritually. We get so focused on making the events happen that we forget the purpose and reason of those events in the first place. As I step back for a second in my preparations and think about my own priorities for the holiday season and how I can best live out my faith during these times I am reminded of some very important principles.
Preparing for the holiday season financially.
I find it kind of ironic that we take a day to give God thanks for all of His bountiful blessings and then the very next day we go out and spend money like it was grown on trees, (do you remember that proverbial question that your parent’s always asked?), and spend what has not been given to us. We go in debt for a “spiritual holiday”. The Bible clearly teaches that when we go into debt we become the slave of the one we are indebted to. Prov. 22:7 Jesus came to set men free. Does it make any sense to put ourselves into bondage so we can celebrate the birth of one who’s purpose in coming was to set us free? So this holiday season, I am not going to spend what I do not have but instead I am going to work on my heart and find ways to bless people who I love with things that come from the heart, not Nordstrom’s, J.C. Penny’s or even Walmart. This will take a change of heart because it will make me go out of both my comfort and my convenience zone.
Preparing for the holiday season emotionally.
The holiday season is not always an easy time emotionally for people. For those of us that are single, it can be a time of great loneliness and dissatisfaction with life. It reminds us that we are separated from family and close intimacy. As a single man, I always have to prepare for this time emotionally. I have to revisit things like acceptance for God’s plan for my life and trust that He has all things under His control. Many people suffer from depression during this time. They are reminded of what they do not have. We need to prepare emotionally to deal with these things. We can’t hide from them. Maybe it is time for some re-evaluation of things you have worked on in the past like acceptance and contentment. I know I will be and it will never hurt to re-work some of these issues.
Preparing for the holiday season spiritually.
Both Thanksgiving and Christmas are spiritual holidays. Just because the hearts of men have twisted these holidays into something that makes profits, they both have their roots in spiritual principles. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful to God for all of His provision. Take some time to check your own heart and ask yourself how thankful you are to God for all that He has provided. How are you expressing that Thankfulness. I know for myself, I plan to spend some quality time while driving to my mom’s to focus on how much God has truly given me and thanking Him for it. I am going to put to practice what the old hymn suggests. I am going to count my blessings.
Christmas is the most miraculous holiday of the year. It is the time where we celebrate what I call the Immanuel principle. “God with us”. Isa 7:14 It is a time where we remember that God loved us enough to send a babe in a manger. It is an act that cries out “I love you!” So prepare your heart this Christmas season. Allow God to truly be “with you”. Allow Him to give His Christmas gift to you by inviting the “Immanuel principle” to be part of your life. Invite Jesus to be the reason you celebrate this Christmas season. You see, if you allow Jesus to be with you, then you are not alone, you are not lacking, you do not have a reason to feel negative about this time of year. If you have been distracted or even walked away from Jesus being with you, change that and begin that personal relationship with Him again.
Finally, remember New Years Eve! It is my birthday! Cash is always king! :)
This article was first published on my website Taber's Truths