What is your reaction when you think of the holiday season? Did you know that the holiday season is actually a “holy-season” that should bring us closer to the event or person we are celebrating? Contrary to current practice, Thanksgiving Day is rooted in an occasion focused on thanking God for His provision rather than parades, football games, and shopping at odd hours. Our study of American history reminds us that the Pilgrims had experienced an incredibly difficult year, yet they chose to be thankful. Christmas is the birthday of our Savior who was born in the humblest of circumstances and gave the best gift ever—salvation. So, what are some ways that you can make this holiday season one that is “holy”?
Strategies for Keeping the Holiday Season Holy-Season
Focus on the “reasons for the seasons.” The book of Psalms is an excellent source for holiday meditation. Begin today by dividing the number of days you have remaining until December 31 by the 150 Psalms. When your emotions attempt to control the season purpose to allow your will to be your reflect reaction
Maintain realistic expectations. Remember that your heavenly Father will give you the strength, financial resources, time, and ability to create the holiday season He has planned for you. He has promised to meet all of your needs not all of your wants (Phil. 4:13, 19).
Keep a gratitude list. Use Psalm 103 as your guide to remembering all of your heavenly Father’s goodness to you. Record at least one blessing a day (even if was a challenging day, you are still breathing). Review the list before retiring each evening.
Purpose to have a forgiving spirit. Forgiveness is the foundation of all relationships—especially behind the closed doors of our homes. Though the actions of others will at times disappoint us, from a biblical perspective we are to forgive them unconditionally. It is a sobering thought to realize that relationships fracture if we refuse to forgive. When our sinful reactions collide with another’s anger often results. Anger breeds an unforgiving spirit and damages relationships. To avoid that heartache, Ephesians 4:26 calls us to deal with broken relationships before we lay our heads on the pillow at night. Matthew 5:43 teaches that to forgive is the most God-like action possible.
Anticipate a joyful season by meditating on what is right in your life. Listen to music that relax, revive, and keep you focused on the “reasons for the seasons.”
Choose to Expand Your Holiday Guest List. It was October of my eighteenth year of life when my Dad stepped into eternity. As a college freshman I not only had to deal with my own grief, I also was faced with the responsibility of helping my mother adjust to a new lifestyle. You see, when Dad died, she not only lost her husband of thirty years, she also lost her circle of friends. Suddenly the married couples (my Dad was the first of their group to die) didn’t know what to do about Mother—so they did nothing. Her grieving process was actually extended because of the withdrawal of her friends, many with whom she and Dad had enjoyed fellowship for years.
Our plight was magnified by the reality that we did not have extended family and I was an only child. Quite frankly, the outlook for the holiday season appeared pretty dismal!
As the holidays approached our neighbors, who embraced a different denomination than we, graciously invited us to share their Christmas celebration with them. The sincere invitation, their effort to fold us into their family, inclusion in the gift exchange, and intentional conversation that focused on recounting the blessings of the year as well as looking forward to the next turned what could have been a miserable day into one of joy. Of course we missed our husband and Dad but the focus on the Lord’s provision for us through the hospitality of our neighbors (Philippians 4:8-9, 19) soothed our grieving spirits.
I have a happy ending to my Mother’s loss of her circle of friends that I described at the beginning of this testimony! Ever the gracious southern hostess, she did not cease to extend hospitality because of the change in her marital status—in the five years that she lived beyond Dad’s death, we frequently extended hospitality, and eventually our guest list included widows from the group that had earlier excluded my Mother. Though her arthritic condition precluded her engaging in as much of the food preparation as she was accustomed to doing, she continued to help me hone the skills that were second nature to her.
The loving hospitality extended to us on that first lonely Christmas served as a catalyst for Mom and me to open our home throughout the year—especially during the holiday season! Will you consider expanding your holiday guest list by including some of the “others”—singles, widows, and the grieving in your celebrations? Who, knows, you might be entertaining an angel incognito (Hebrews 13:2)!
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Jesus’ humanity enabled Him to relate to my challenges, while His divinity gave Him the power to help me overcome them.”
If you are in the Fort Worth area consider scheduling a tour of Horner Homemaking House, Southwestern’s Management Model where our Homemaking classes are taught.
If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on “Contact Pat” and request your copy.
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!