Emotions of Christmas
by Majetta Morris
We experience a wide range of emotions during Christmas time. Although we are Christians, we can allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with the busyness of the season and fall into negative thought patterns.
Recently a news commentator commented on the mental health of many facing loneliness this season. Loneliness is more common than you may think. Each of us has probably faced it at some time. It can be crippling when we see others who seem to have many friendships and we desire someone to reach out to us. We think, “Wouldn’t it be nice to meet someone for coffee?” But then we undermine ourselves with the second thought, “That would just be one more thing to demand my time.”
Depression and discouragement can easily take over when I feel trapped and overwhelmed with all my perceived responsibilities: decorate the church; decorate my house; plan and execute the church board party; plan and execute the staff party; plan and execute the ladies’ Christmas party; ensure the Youth and Children’s Pastors have what is needed for the children’s program and parties; buy Christmas gifts for staff, board, church, and family. Then I learn that family is coming from out of town for Christmas at my house. My bad! Family always comes last, and my family comes last of all!! Not fair!!!
Anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion increase as I consider how I’m going to accomplish all that is on my plate. I would like help but feel it would take more time to train someone than to do a task myself. Could I let go and allow permission to do it another way? I need to examine my thoughts to see if this is a control issue on my part.
As perplexity grows, so does irritability and lack of joy. Every morning I arise and think, “This is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. . .yeah, right!” My peace has already gone out the window. I get hubby off to work, kids off to school (or to schoolwork, if I’m homeschooling), and I rush through morning devotions—if I even allow myself time to read from my current devotional book. But I skip the verse or two from the Word. I’ve forgotten to make “Jesus the Reason for the Season.”
I need to approach this from the other side and intentionally make “Jesus the Reason for the Season” in my life. Most ecumenical churches use the Advent as a guide for sermons each year for the four Sundays surrounding Christmas. Each Sunday emphasizes a characteristic of Christ--Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace--which can be mine when I give Jesus first place.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Because of God’s Love, we have Love, Hope, Joy, and Peace to give to others. I can love you because God first loved me. Without God, I would have nothing to share.
Without faith/hope in God, I cannot do anything of heavenly value, I cannot overcome, I cannot live victoriously. When I exercise my “Faith,” I give my “Amen” to God’s truth, to His reality, to His love, to His salvation. . .not just with my mouth, but with my heart, my mind, my emotions, my strength, and my life—my entire being.¹
The "Triunity" of God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—speaks to the Love that God has for us. It takes three to have love:
Love is one, and Love is three. God is One, and God is Three in One.²
God’s love abides with us, walks with us, and stays with us through everything. God’s love puts Himself in our place, giving us the desire to want the best for another. Then we can put ourselves in the place of others to feel as they feel, cry as they cry, have joy for their joys, and walk a mile in their shoes.³
One of my favorite hymns from childhood is Joy Unspeakable written by Barney Elliott Warren, inspired by 1 Peter 1:8 KJV. I cannot sing the song without a smile on my face! JOY! Although I don't always, I should always have “joy unspeakable” flowing from me as a redeemed child of God.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” Romans 4:7,8.
A Buddhist parent of a student one day asked me, “Why are you always so happy?” My heart responded, “Why should it be so difficult?” “But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.” Psalm 68:3
On a second trip to my home, a salesperson once said, “I love coming here. It is so peaceful.” Peace, from the Prince of Peace! How soothing and calming! “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27. We can stew, worry, and fret ourselves into a tizzy and ruin our own peace or can know according to Isaiah 26:3, “[God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [Him], all whose thoughts are fixed on [Him]!” We can have peace with God, peace with others, and peace with ourselves.
I pray you will live on the positive side of your Christmas emotions. When things start bogging you down, remind yourself that the God of Love is right beside you.
Unless otherwise marked, all Scripture is New Living Translation (NLT).
¹Chan, Jonathan, The Book of Mysteries, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group. www.charismahouse.com, 2016/2018, Day 26.
²Chan, Jonathan, The Book of Mysteries, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group. www.charismahouse.com, 2016/2018, Day 32.
³Chan, Jonathan, The Book of Mysteries, Charisma Media/Charisma House Book Group. www.charismahouse.com, 2016/2018, Day 12.
Majetta, a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God, began her first Sunday School teaching assignment when she was twelve. With husband, Wayne, and daughters, Scarlett and Keena, she ministered throughout the southwest U.S. in Kids Krusades for ten years before going to Okinawa, Japan to minister in schools, churches, and the local community for a total of sixteen years. After retiring in Springfield, Missouri in 2007, she began professionally editing as a freelancer at the request of a friend. Majetta loves reading, writing, crafting, teaching, and editing. Contact Majetta at email@example.com for assistance publishing your writing projects.
The Gifts That Keep on Giving
An Exposition on Isaiah 9:1-7
by Julie Davenport
Some people just LOVE Christmas! I have friends that listen to Christmas music starting months before December or even all year long! Are you one of THOSE? I start the day after Thanksgiving and stop the day after Christmas. I do love Christmas, though, and the wonderful feeling you get during the most wonderful time of the year.
One of the most enjoyable things about Christmas is giving gifts to the kids and seeing their excitement. When they are really young, you can get by with less expensive gifts. I remember one year when my daughters were little, we gave them ten gifts each. They were so excited to count all ten! They didn’t care that one of the gifts was a toothbrush, another was a pair of socks, and the rest didn’t cost very much. The fun was in opening all those gifts.
After Christmas, even as adults, there is sometimes a little let down when it is all over. As believers, however, we have the gift of Jesus, the gift that keeps on giving. In Isaiah 9:1-7, we have a passage that lists ten gifts that are available to us all year long. These gifts are not inexpensive ones, they are priceless!
Those living in the days of Isaiah were seeking light and happiness in good things like the strength of their nation, gathering land and goods, moral and religious duties. They even sought happiness through evil things and sought out sorcerers and mediums, but they ended with only darkness and gloom. In Isaiah 8:22, we see their circumstances:
“Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land when they are famished, they will become enraged and looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.”
Doesn’t sound very “Christmasy,” does it?
Just like all of us, they were seeking happiness and fulfillment in other people and other things and in their circumstances. This passage in Isaiah is for those of us who have learned that happiness is not found in us trying to bring our own light to our life. True light and satisfaction and joy can only be found in the Lord.
Here are ten gifts available to us all year long:
As a bonus to these gifts, we see in Isaiah 9:7 that there will be no end to the increase of His government and peace, that He will reign forever, and that it is He (not us) who will accomplish these gifts in our lives.
I’m praying for each of you to enjoy these marvelous gifts and to have a wonderful Christmas season!
If one word could depict a life, Julie Davenport’s would be “redemption.” As a child, Julie’s character was forged within a legacy of faith, godliness, and ministry, so when she married a charismatic young pastor on the fast-track to prominence, life was everything she’d dreamed it would be...on the outside. But inside, alone and hidden from view, Julie endured abuse, betrayal, and infidelities that spiraled to include miscarriage, cancer, divorce, mental illness, and eventually suicide. Julie is now an ordained AG minister who through speaking engagements and two daughters continues the legacy of ministry, God is using Julie’s life-story to validate His immeasurable grace and prove His power to redeem what Satan tried so hard to destroy.
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