This time of year is special. It seems people are a little nicer, givers come out of the woodwork, families get a little closer together and the name of Jesus is uttered many more times than the rest of the year.
Yet, for others it is a stark reminder of loved ones lost, gifts that cannot be afforded, and a depression of sorts because of increased isolation and loneliness. I certainly don't have all the answers that would soothe the situation except for my own ways of dealing with the joy of the season, yet the loss of significant loved ones. They are simple, yet they bring a consolation of peace.
First, do good at every opportunity! Take the time to step out of yourself, your own pain to invest in others. You will be amazed how much it helps ease the pain. In Psalm 37 it says this: Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy the pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Simply, the more good we do the more pasture we have to dwell in. Then, we carry Jesus with us wherever we go and even through the dark times he delights our hearts with the knowledge that the best is yet to come. We trust in Him and not the seasons of the year or the fragility of life itself. If the stock market, the amount of toys we can buy for our kids or how much of a macho man or superwoman we are defines us, then our lives will be governed by a proverbial Santa Claus outlook on God.
Secondly, understand the plan. It's not about our 401K, how much we have or don't have it's about where the shelter of our life is. Here's Solomon's take on this: Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of the possessor.
Believe me, I used to be caught in the achievement and possessions trap, going for all the money and fame, but it all comes and goes. However, God's plan is that our focus should be on Him, then all the circumstances of this life we make between the dashes can be processed through his perspective rather than our own human concept.
Sorry for the length of this blog, but I felt compelled to get real today about how a significant perspective change in my life altered the way I think. Loss of life in Viet Nam, loss of four loved ones in four consecutive years, and my youngest son seven years ago. Loss of marriages, ups and downs of success - now at an older age I understand, and the wisdom learned has preserved my life and my joy for every moment of life experienced, good or bad.
I've been naughty and I have certainly been nice, but now I can truly say 'Tis The Season to experience his presence rather than his presents!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.