The beginning of the holiday season is upon us and already the pressure to shop, attend parties, and fill the day with “to dos” has begun. In the midst of this season, I can often get wrapped up in the things of the world and lose my focus on God’s purposes for me as a follower of Christ. Does this happen to you or am I the only one?
My focus seems to shift from the God of creation who lovingly provides for me and desires to spend time with me, to the filling of my time with holiday plans, presents, and busyness. I seem to lose who it is God created me to be and instead start to see myself through the eyes of the world.
This season, God, in His infinite wisdom, is showing me I can choose to live a different way. I can choose to keep my focus on Him through His Word and His promises of who I am in Christ. Ever so gently He is showing me how to keep my focus on Him and who He’s called me to be so there will be joy and peace this season. I am discovering some spiritual practices which are helping me be filled to the full measure of His love and be able to share His love with others. I thought I’d share these practices with you in the hopes they might be useful to you as well.
I’ve started beginning each day by drawing in a deep breath. In essence inhaling the presence of the Lord. Yes, a simple act, but it’s the deep breath, which serves as a reminder to me the Holy Spirit is in me. For me this is a picture of Christ’s sacrificial love allowing me to be fully present with the Lord and He fully present with me.
Next I read a portion of scripture and begin to give thanks. I thank God for who He is and thank Him for whom He’s created me to be. This has become an eye opening exercise. By reframing my thoughts, my heart is open to praise God for who He is and remember who I am in Christ. This act of worship has given me a fresh perspective of how deeply loved I am by God.
His Word is such a precious gift. I can’t imagine my life without it. However, I am amazed at the number of times I choose not to read His Word or to read it filled with the distractions of my day ahead. My daily act of surrender, breathing in and giving thanks by reading His precious Words reminds me how much God loves me. Reading His Word helps me to keep my eyes fixed upon His purposes for me, not just during the holiday season, but every day of my life.
Finally there is Love. These two simple acts, breathing in and giving thanks, helps me to love. For me this act of faith enables me to love those around me who may be difficult to love. You know them, the slower person in line at the store in front of you, the slowest driver on the road in front of you, or maybe it’s someone in your life who is difficult to love, a family member, a friend, or a neighbor. I have them in my life and I am betting I am not alone in those that frustrate me and remind me I need Christ’s love in me to love them well. Is there a person in your life who comes to mind?
Knowing who I am in Christ makes the loving simpler; maybe not easier, but definitely this perspective helps me to love as Christ loves. Faith helps me to love as Christ loves. Faith helps me to be thankful even when the loving stretches me. It is the power of the Holy Spirit in me, as a follower of Jesus, that promises me His peace this holiday.
How can you display the love of Christ this Thanksgiving to someone who is a little more challenging to love?
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,