Are you struggling this Christmas and finding it a challenge to celebrate this year?
Maybe you're dealing with a sickness, loss of a loved one, financial difficulty, or another major life-change.
These things can keep us awake at night tossing and turning, keep us distracted during the day, and just plain wear us out.
Add Christmas to it and the problem and stress can feel magnified.
Then, along comes the guilt.
The What's wrong with me...it's Christmas I shouldn't be feeling this way, thoughts.
Toss that in with all the stress and sometimes it's just too much to handle.
Sometimes it's hard.
Sickness has become an unwelcome guest in your home.
Someone who used to be there to celebrate with is gone.
You're unable to pay the bills or put food on your table.
The pain of life is ringing in your ears, stinging your eyes and catching in your throat.
And yet, it's Christmas.
We all have our ideas of how it should be.
Beautifully decorated home, twinkling tree, homemade cookies and hot cocoa, singing carols by the cozy fire, lots of loved ones, presents and good cheer.
And yet it's not perfect and we have these circumstances.
What do we do?
Do we give in to the stress, the pain, the sickness, the loss, the lack and say no to Christmas?
That's one idea.
Or do we give that stress, that pain, that sickness, that loss, that lack over to Jesus, the only one who can bear it, and gain the strength to say yes?
I've found myself in this situation this year.
The stress and the problems can be so demanding and demeaning, staking claim on my time, energy, and thoughts.
It threatens to rattle at my day, gnaw at my night, and control my very life.
Should I allow it?
In this season, this is what I've learned to do in order to not be overcome.
Wake up and say hello to Jesus and give Him what's on my mind and in my heart.
Speak out a scripture or 2 or 5 that has to do with my situation and let it build hope in me.
Remind myself that because I'm His child that good things will happen to me today.
Ask Him for His strength and wisdom.
Get out of bed and do this throughout the day, especially when the stress rises.
And receive the blessings.
And invite Christmas into my home, into my heart, into my circumstance.
The stress still threatens, but I've been amazed daily at how prayers have been answered.
Today, as I picked up my youngest from half-day kindergarten on his last day before Christmas break the school director handed me a card and wished me a Merry Christmas.
Later, I opened the card to find, tucked inside it, my check for this month's tuition payment, that I had turned in earlier in the week, along with a note that said Samuel's tuition is being covered for the rest of the year!
I was overwhelmed!
I didn't ask for this, wouldn't ever have expected it.
And as my tears flowed, I praised God who is good and remembered that He is a very present help in times of need.
I'm adding this gift to others that shine bright in the face of circumstances and continuing to count blessings:
*friends who really see and love and are there
*needs being met
*experiencing God's deep and perfect Love
*good hugs just when I need them
*happy, heartfelt tears shared with a friend
*my precious boys
*how they teach and inspire me
*a partner by my side
Whatever you're facing today, I wanted to leave you with this scripture from inside that beautiful miracle-carrying card.
I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him.
Ephesians 1:19 TLB
May you invite Christmas in and find exactly what you need.