Is it really? Or is it the loneliest time of the year? Or the saddest? Or the unhappiest? Christmases come and go and there have been years when there wasn’t enough money to buy the gifts that I wanted to buy. There was the year of the family home broken beyond repair. There were the years of loved ones recently passed and the years of estrangement from extended family who had once been close.
Stuff happens to change the dynamic of Christmas and can crush the idealistic dream of what it should be. I’ve been through a lot of changes in my life and, though I don’t really like change, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
This year, for hubby and I, it is the first Christmas EVER that we won’t have any family with us over the holidays. Is that sad? Yes. Is it something to mourn and grow depressed over? Absolutely not!
I am thankful that I HAVE a husband to spend the day with. We will cook a good meal, watch old Christmas movies, and maybe go out in search of beautiful Christmas lights at night.
I am thankful that I have my family to love, and who love me in return, no matter how far away we will be from one another this Christmas.
I am thankful that instead of spending a lot of money on gifts for each other this year our family made the joint decision to bless others who are in need this Christmas.
I am thankful to have made new friends in this community, so far away from where we used to live. Enough new friends to have in for a Christmas With The Kranks Party the day after Christmas.
I am abundantly blessed (which in the Bible is the word makarios or a self contained happiness – happiness independent of circumstances) at this time in my life, but in my happy state I don’t mean to overlook or minimize anything you might be going through this year. Believe me, I feel for hurting hearts and I do understand the feeling of being so low that I thought I would never rise again.
All I have to offer you are the words, “I care about what you are going through.”
But God . . . He has much more to offer you in His Words. So here are some Scriptures that I hope will uplift you this Christmas season and bring to you the hope needed to push through to the change that is ahead. Because things do change, and when you are at the lowest of lows it is most times for the better!
- Psalm 34:18 (NIV) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Psalms 55:22 (NIV) Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
- Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
- Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
- Joshua 10:25 (NIV) Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.
- Prov 18:10 (NIV) The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
- Psalm 46:1-2 NIV God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
- Psalm 55:22 NIV Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
- Psalm 118:14-28 NIV (A prophetic song of Jesus) The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
And finally, Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. “Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”~ Oswald Chambers Click To Tweet
My prayer for you this Christmas is that, not matter what your outward circumstances, you will find joy in the celebration of our Savior’s birth. One of my friends said, let your presence be your present. God longs for your presence and for you to draw near to Him so He can meet every need of your heart.
I myself will be taking some time away from writing to enjoy the Season to the fullest but I look forward to “new things” to come for all of us in the New Year.
Abundant blessings to you dear, dear readers,
All photos taken in Boston, Massachusetts.
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I’m guest posting over at Faith ‘n Friends today where I’m sharing, Renewing the Wonder of Christmas. To read the full article please click on the link HERE. I’d also love for you to leave a comment while you’re there telling me your thoughts on the subject.
Many blessings to you as we enter this Season of Great Wonder,
Do you ever find yourself complaining more than giving thanks? Does it ever seem like your circumstances are so overwhelming that it’s hard to find even one thing to be thankful for? Believe me, I’ve been through times like that in my own life!
My friend Diane over at An Extraordinary Day has a weekly post called Joy Day where we are invited to share seven things each Sunday that we are thankful for. I like to take part in Joy Day as often as I can to keep myself in the practice of remembering the ways that God has blessed me.
This week, as I began to write out my list, I decided to do something a little different. During Thanksgiving week we are supposed to be turning our hearts toward the things we are thankful for but I know that for some of you who are going through really tough times that can be hard. This past year I have friends who have lost spouses, suffered illness, watched their children suffer, had marital difficulties, financial struggles, even lost beloved pets (we do love our pets). So I decided to start my list by thinking of the things I’m NOT so thankful for and as I wrote down my complaints I determined to counter them with positives.
Here is what I wrote for Joy Day this week:
1. I am 60 (EEEK!) and I am alive (Yes, I hit the big Six-OH last week).
2. I have bills to pay and we have the means to pay them.
3. My adult children live far, far away and we are closer than most moms and daughters I know.
4. My best friends are far, far away and God is giving me more new friends than I could’ve imagined.
5. My husband lives with pain daily and he still gets up and goes to work to take care of our needs.
6. My house is a mess and the Christmas decorations are all down from the attic and in the process of being put up. A delight!
7. I have too much to do and it is good to be strong enough to do all the things I do.
Do you see what I mean by turning complaint around to thankfulness? I’d like to get in the habit of doing this ALL of the time!
Scripture tells us to give thanks in all circumstances but this command isn’t for God’s benefit. When we turn our thoughts and hearts toward God in thankfulness we receive the blessing of a changed attitude and a changed heart!
Thankfulness cultivates an attitude of praise which is good for our own well being as well as the well being of those around us.
When we are thankful we are happier and it shows on the outside. A side benefit to this is more friends! People like to be around happy people.
When we acclaim God in the midst of our troubles we walk into the light of His presence and are able to rise above our circumstances. The circumstance may not change but WE are changed.
As we come upon this Thanksgiving holiday maybe you also would like to ask God to turn your attitude toward the positive and show you His light in the darkness. If you simply ask Him I believe that He will give you a new way of looking at your life and give you much to be thankful for.
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving,
There she was was, one among many in a jam packed antique mall. She’d been there a long, long time but today they’d put a new price on her in hopes of moving her out quickly to make room for better pieces. Many people came and walked around this petite lady, checking out her classic lines, only to walk away when they saw the raw signs of wear and the peeling veneer . . .
. . . until the one came, the one who was much like her. The one who chose her and took her home to give her a new life.
Many long days and nights were spent on her restoration, and in the process the lines began to blur between the life of the restorer and the one being restored as comparisons were made of their similarities. Peeling veneers were repaired, putty used to fill the larger cracks, and experiments with different colored paints were tried to see what she would become. No, this one was not meant to be a bold colored statement piece. Nor was she meant to be a sophisticated lacquered lady. This one’s past, it was determined, would be allowed to shine through the layers of paint that would eventually bring her to this soft and muted color.
This petite one was solidly built by her original creator and as she is restored she becomes even stronger.
When the transformation is complete she looks different than before but her original character still shines through.
Her freshly cleaned and painted interior is carefully filled with treasures from generations past.
These treasures remind her of the values instilled within her by family members when she was young.
They also remind her of lessons learned from friends and acquaintances who intersected path along the way.
Of course she can’t help but recall lessons she learned through her own mistakes!
If you move in real close you’ll see this lady’s imperfections quite clearly . . .
. . . and the wear that came from living life long and full.
Life wounded this one deeply at times . . .
. . . but the pain that caused the visible scars is long past and nothing more than distant memory.
Mostly now she recalls the joys of her life. She has been blessed with much, MUCH joy!
See the layers of color representing childhood, young adulthood, motherhood, career, and now a sweet time of less responsibility but a passion to continue living life to the fullest! And always with the expectancy of, “What’s next?”
Though she was once closed and private, she doesn’t mind throwing her doors wide open now to share with others the pathway to becoming beautiful. Though it is at times frightening to her, and sometimes others don’t like what they see in her or what she has to share, she has been called to this purpose of giving back to others what she has so freely been given.
This one, she is different than those around her, and though she once detested her differences she is now at peace with who she is. The once shy girl has come out of her shell of insecurity. She laughs freely now and loves to make others laugh along with her. She believes that others can find the same freedom to be who they were created to be and loves to offer to let them borrow her hope until they can find their own. She is often heard to say,
In reality, we are all different. Unique creations made to love and be loved by Father God. Fighting your way through life all alone can be hard. Sometimes it takes another person coming alongside to help point us in the direction God originally intended for us to go. God tells us that His way is easy and His burden is light. Won’t you place your life into the Master’s hands and let Him do the work of bringing you into complete restoration?
Take it from a little painted hutch,
I’d love to pray for those of you who are struggling in any way. Simply leave your prayer request in the comment section. I moderate all of my comments so if you’d like your prayer to be private please let me know.
Blessings to you dear ones,
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