Thanksgiving has just passed for us and Christmas is right around the corner.  What a wonderful time of the year!  But some of us are not looking forward to the annual interaction with family and friends.  It causes us stress.  We can’t remember details we asked them about last year; we forgot to take action on something we told them we would; maybe we invited mutual enemies to our house–both certain we wouldn’t invite the other.  Often, there is someone you find difficult; whatever it is for you, the joy of Thanksgiving and the thankfulness for our Savior’s birth along with New Years’ gatherings, can make this a stressful time of the year.  


Alcohol has been the traditional go-to for ”helping us along”.  Drugs and immorality have also taken their turn helping us cope.  We may tell ourselves things like  “it’s fun”, “it’s what the holidays are all about”, “it’s only once a year”,  or the most comforting one of them all “ you need a break”.  But, have we really been coping, or is it more like running and hiding–even though we are right there in the room with all the rest that are also “running and hiding”?


All of those things mentioned are simply just defense mechanisms to protect self.  When I look to the world for affirmation, encouragement, at-a-boys, and assurance that I am  “OK”, I play this game to protect me, protect myself.  We each crave the acceptance of our peers.  That is the default position of sinners in a sinful, broken world.  It is not our fault–it’s what we were born into. BUT…There is a better way.


It’s “natural” to want friends and to be in a relationship.  However, it is also very dangerous when our only friends are our worldly friends, and none of us have any comprehension of another way.  I lived this way for a long time.  I put “me/self” first; always.  It’s how I did life, how I made my decisions.  “Look out for number 1”.  Joe was number 1.  Even when I first got married.   

Why is that so dangerous? Well, I was headed for an eternity without God.  That is my definition of Hell.  And that is for ETERNITY.  A 100-year lifespan is insignificant when compared with FOREVER!


Jesus is the solution to this mess.  He calls us to die to self, not commit suicide; but to emotionally get out of the way, follow Him, and put Him between ourselves and the stress, the sin, the temptation; whatever it is that once pushed us into a worldly default position.  Jesus is the only way to eternity WITH God; my definition of heaven.  


When we get out of our own way and realize there is another way to do life called Christianity, it really changes things.  When we personally accept Jesus for who He is, we also receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the power we need to go to that Christmas party or family gathering and relax, to think more about those you are with and less about you, and to enjoy learning how their life has been lately.  


We are able to relax and do this because now we understand our value as a child of God and being loved by Him.  Yes, loved by the Creator of the universe.  Nothing from man can upset or interrupt that.  “I’m OK” because now God says so!  This changes things.  I now measure up with anyone in that room.  When this short little life of mine is over I will be in heaven with God and Jesus.  No man can discount that nor take it from me.  He can’t “one-up” me or belittle me.  I am no longer a slave to the fear of anyone in that room.


Jesus teaches we are to love God and love others.  Now, I want to know what’s going on in other people’s lives.  I take more interest in them.  I care if they’ve been through something hard.  I might pray for them.  These are ways that the love of God has shown me and can be reflected in those He puts in my path.  There are a lot of verses in the Bible that speak on how to do life with one another.  Take a look at them and allow God to move in your life.

Don’t fear change.  Don’t fear the holidays.  Fear God.  At the same time knowing He loves us, He sent His Son here to be with us and experience for Himself, life on this earth.  Get to know Him and make it your business to understand what this blog is all about.  Jesus understands what we are going through and offers each of us unlimited love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  God sent His son to provide a path for our eternity and a godly way to go to that holiday party.  He has done His part.  Will you?