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We all know the rest of the line from this 16th century Welsh yuletide carol Deck the Halls: “’Tis the season to be jolly.” A “jolly” season is surely a very delightful thought. Unfortunately, such is not the reality in the lives of many. December can be a very difficult and stressful time of the year, even melancholy for some, and depressing for others.
There are a number of reasons for difficulties during this season. One is simply that life can be hard and full of heartbreak and disappointment. When one finds themselves in the middle of problems during this time of year, the struggle can increase just by knowing that one is supposed to be “jolly.”
Then, of course, there are those who struggle with living in the past – especially in such a sentimental season. “Living” in the past is not really living though, but just “existing” through the rehearsing of a former life that has already been lived. Sentiment is a heavy burden for many to bear – living with the ghosts of Christmas past.
Certainly, there are also those who become easily obsessed with that 24-hour window of the future – from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. They get trapped in all of the anxious plans and fretful details that must be managed so that these few hours turn out just right. Sometimes this bondage actually originates from a heart that genuinely desires to bring blessing to others – but in the process of all of the activity one can easily lose sight of what is really important, and like Martha of Luke’s Gospel, they become disgruntled by being “cumbered by much serving” (10:40).
The Understandable Version says that she was “preoccupied with all the preparations [i.e., for entertaining her beloved guest].” I am sure that many a host and hostess could easily identify with Martha. Unquestionably, the idea of her being “preoccupied” is that she had been “distracted” (as Young, Weymouth, Rotherham and the CLNT have translated it) from what was of real importance. It is easy to lose heart in our service when undue importance is placed on artificial days or things.
In all of the situations that present seasonal occasions for being sad, depressed, overwhelmed and anxious, it is important that we keep our eyes on Father and His Son. Like Moses, we get through our trials only by “seeing Him Who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). Like Peter, we will begin to sink beneath the waves of circumstances if we take our eyes off of our only source of true joy and strength (Matthew 14:22-33).
Much attention is given in this season for the “Babe in the manger,” but we must look to the “Lord of Glory” Who is now at the right hand of the Father, and we are seated there with Him (Colossians 3:1). As in all other parts of the year we should live our day-to-day lives unto Him, and Him alone (Colossians 3:17, 23).
While we may occasionally look to the past with thanksgiving to Him, and we may plan for the future so as to be His blessing to others, we must keep our bearings in this season by living neither in the past, nor in the future, but in the present. We, or our loved ones, may never come to see the upcoming 24-hour period over which we are so stressed. Our lives are but a vapor, and none of us are promised a tomorrow (James 4:14).
All that we have is today. Seize it. Live in it. Enjoy it,
For in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).
With Him, every day is a glorious season – every day a sacred holiday (Romans 14:5-8; I Corinthians 10:31). During this season, whatever steps you may be taking on your journey, remember to enjoy HIM, Who is your life (Colossians 3:4).