So it’s the day after Christmas and many are hungover from indulging in too many sweets and the frenzy of gift giving and the hype that goes along with creating Hallmark moments.
But Hallmark moments are not real life.
While they surely exist as sublimely sweet gifts, much more of life is lived in the trenches where things are far from perfect if not downright hurtful or disappointing or hard.
And sometimes shameful with pride holding us prisoner as we grip a grudge or demand our own way thinking that we are the only one with a heart that can hurt.
We bear battle scars and carry baggage like Jacob Marley’s rattling chains, formed link by link and yard by yard. And all of it growing heavier until we choose to let them be lifted from us.
Tremendous pressure is placed upon making December 25 picture perfect yet celebrating in the ways to which we are accustomed isn’t even in the bible.
For everyday can and should be Christmas because each 24 hours is a gift and the Lord’s day is full of new mercies.
But we get covered in situations swirling and it seems like winter is forever, sun never shining.
And with snowflakes falling this morning I ventured out for a walk.
Shower burst heavy for a time and the sub-freezing temperatures I dislike so much whether inside or out went down to my bones.
All that white falling transformed the landscape and the look of things, and the sky pale and leaden gave the impression that all the world was gray.
And isn’t that how our lives feel sometimes?
Heavy and gray and hopeless?
Especially when we are hard pressed on every side.
Yet we would do well to remember that self-focus and perceiving our troubles as such is quickly reproved by our brother James.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing… Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:2-4 and 12
This is not to say that problems don’t exist and feelings never get hurt. But what if me and you by God’s grace lift ourselves up by the boot straps and view such situations as Father’s home school curriculum for the day?
Claiming the mind of Christ, putting on our full armor, taking every thought captive instead of allowing our minds to be captured by the enemy.
Stepping outside of ourselves even when it’s hard and cold, asking God to allow us to see our own heart and our hurts and our mounting problems from heaven’s vantage point.
And then living accordingly following Christ who strengthens us as we say we do.
Worth disciplining ourselves to practice?
And like Paul I confess I don’t have it right 100 percent of the time. My sanctification like yours is worked out daily regardless of whether I am standing strong and being like Elder Brother, or falling short and giving into the smallness of my heart where sin and selfishness and self pity rule.
So as I walked a little way pondering these things a thin vanilla wafer appeared from behind the clouds casting shadows in sunlight chill.
Reminding me that no matter what a situation looks like or how I feel Eternal Truth reigns supreme.
And holding me and you always through heavy snow or summer’s warming breeze is the Son.
Our greatest Christmas gift…
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