by Paige Smith
Do you feel swept along in the whirlwind that can be the holiday season? Are you feeling overwhelmed, disconnected, or even forgotten in a time that seems to be a time of love and community for every one else? Read on and see how shifting your view of who you are can bring the peace and assurance we all desperately need in all seasons of life, but especially in the hectic time of the holidays.
I went to a relationship conference this past weekend and was reminded of the unfortunate reality that the holidays are a time of great celebration for some but can also be a time of great stress, isolation, and disappointment for many others. Unresolved family issues, family passings, and unexpected illnesses can all make the holidays a painful time for many Americans.
There are a myriad of emotions the holiday season can bring. For some it is a time of excitement but also stress as they anticipate hosting friends and family members with different appetites personalities and needs coming under one roof.
For others the holidays are a time where they battle depression either because they are unable to be with their family members or because family members who were formerly present to celebrate with them are no longer there. Still for others, the holidays are a time of ambivalence and uncertainty. They are not sure what their plans will be, so they have mixed emotions or simply choose not to invest any amount of emotion in to it.
I fell in to this latter category this year. I wasn’t sure where I would end up for Thanksgiving so I didn’t know what to expect and tried not to think about it too much. I was certain wherever I went the food would be amazing, but I wasn’t as confident that wherever I went I would be enthusiastically accepted. I still had to admit that I was feeling unsure as to whether my time around the table this Thanksgiving would be full of care free love and laughter or of feeling disconnected and out of place.
Coming to terms with these feelings I realized that for anyone, whether it seems like they come from a modern day Cosby family or find themselves eating Thanksgiving dinner alone, or are surrounded by relatives they are not sure how to connect to, the holidays are a time where we all have a deep relational need for acceptance.
The Holidays are a Time Where we all have a Deep Relational Need for Acceptance
Can you identify with this today? In the midst of wondering if you bought enough of a certain ingredient, if you’ll have the right outfit, if you’ll be able to clean your house in time for guests, in the midst of holiday traffic, in the midst of it all I encourage you to refocus on whose opinion and acceptance matters most of all, God your Father.
Growing up I was the quintessential daddy’s girl. Nothing could shake my confidence when my dad was around because I was so sure of his unconditional love for me. Do you know in this holiday season no matter what may come your way you can experience an unshakable confidence and peace as you realize that God is your Daddy and He is with you and for you?
What does it mean that God is your Father in this Holiday Season?
1) It means you are valued.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
What an amazing thing to know that God says that we are valuable to Him! No matter what your holiday circumstances may be or whether those around you recognize your worth, remember that your Heavenly father values you.
2) It means you are unique.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.“ (Matthew 18:12-14)
Do you know that God rejoices over you and that you make God happy? Do you know that you can touch God’s heart in a way that no one else can? Just like a father with different children, God has a distinct relationship with you than He does with anyone else and you are singled out to Him even in the midst of many others.
3) It means you don’t have to be perfect!
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
In this holiday season shake off the pressure to be perfect. The holidays can be so stressful for many because there seems to be a demand for perfection. The food has to be perfect, our outfits and hair must be perfect, the house must be perfect, the plating must be perfect. Don’t allow perfectionism to steal your joy this holiday season.
No one is perfect and God loves you and is still your Daddy whether or not you check everything off your thanksgiving to do list. Even in the moments when you feel like you’ve completely messed up or are dealing with the wrong attitude, His response towards you is kindness. Receive God’s kindness towards you today as his little one, even when you mess up.
4) It means you are extravagantly loved!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
You are loved, you are loved, you are loved! God doesn’t just love you as His child, He greatly loves you! He doesn’t just give His love to you, He lavishes it upon you! This Thanksgiving, mediate on the fact that whether you feel celebrated or tolerated by those around you, God accepts you wholeheartedly and extravagantly loves you!
5) It means you are fully taken care of.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2)
Do not let your hearts be troubled this holiday season. Trust in God, know that He is your Father and is taking care of you. So many times we can feel as if we have to take care of it all or everything will fall apart especially in the holidays. If God your Father is preparing a place for you in heaven right now, how much more provision do you think He has for you here on earth?
6) It means good gifts are coming your way.
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).
God has good gifts for His children, and that means He has good gifts for you! Don’t lose that child-like sense of expectancy for life, but allow yourself to believe that God is a good father and He is excited to pour out His abundant resources and give you the desires of your heart as you delight in Him.
7) It means your identity is a child of God.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16)
Our identity as children of God is the beginning and end of it all. Nothing will be able to shake us this holiday season as we are rooted and grounded in our Daddy’s love and acceptance of us. We are God’s children!
I encourage you to pray this prayer today over your Holidays:
“Daddy, I thank you for allowing me to see you more as my father today. I thank you that you love me and accept me completely as your child. I know if no one else understands, you know exactly what I am feeling this holiday season. Help me to walk in the love You have for Me, help me to have an untroubled heart and trust in you in whatever circumstances I find myself in these holidays. Daddy, I thank you that you have good gifts and good plans in store for me and I choose to expect to see your goodness towards me this holiday season. I love you and I thank you for your love for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Has this post changed your paradigm of God? Had it helped you see Him as your loving Father who is with you and for you this holiday season? We pray you would carry this perspective into your holidays and that the peace of God would guard your heart and mind. Please feel free to share any comments or thoughts this post has provoked. We love hearing from you!
Below’s a Recent Photo Mrs. Lee wanted to share with you as we approach Holiday Family Time with Joy!