12.24.2012

When What You Need Is A Way Out (Dealing With Holiday Expectations)

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Each year the whole world pauses to acknowledge the birth of one tiny baby boy born 2000 plus years ago in Bethlehem. There really is no hiding or denying that Christmas will come again and again and with it a plethora of meaning, memory and emotion for many who are struggling to discover the place their faith holds in their own life or in a particular season of life. Over the years in my own life Christmas has meant different things to me at different times. As I have walked through the years I can say that I have resented the season and adored the season. I wonder if there is any other time of year that holds more power to inspire joy and cause great sadness simultaneously.  One day that does unify and divide, regardless of where you are on your own spiritual journey. One that causes many to stumble or be sidetracked, distracted or distant.

We who celebrate the birth of our Wonderful Savior and know of His gracious love, tenderness, compassion and mercy would do well to consider walking softly through the season and the holiday with a supernatural portion of gentleness, kindness and patience. Ask Him, he will supply it.  

During our last minute running around, watch for Him to show up as you interact with every single person. 

The cashier, the postman, the banker, the local merchant. The weary widow, the lonely friend, the new church member, the displaced relative. Usher them into His presence with the Peace you bring. Look into their eyes, and silently pray for whatever you sense the Spirit reveals. Maybe a smile, or just a word of encouragement or your listening ear. Don't be so busy as to not looking into the eyes of those you meet. 
The eyes are the windows of the soul. See every person and pause to hear the Lord speak. 

If you are the one who is weary or brokenhearted this season, remember, He is near.
Be assured of His presence.
Be still and rest.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Our own expectation of others, the holiday and ourselves so often leads to stress that is not beneficial or healthy. You can recognize your expectations of the day are super-sized when you:

A. Start to sweat the small stuff (remember it's all small stuff- I know hard to grasp but...)
B. You find yourself emotionally responding to the choices of others which are beyond your control.
C. You're cursing through the kitchen (as opposed to dashing through the snow?)
D. Feel like you want to curl up a ball and suck your thumb in the corner until all this Christmas stuff is done.
E. Are secretly hoping there was a back up date for the Mayan Apocalypse and it will be soon (like before the Christmas credit card bills are due) 
F. All of the above

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."
John 14:27


A prayer:
Lord, I pray that by your power you would bring a spirit of gentleness and peace to all who need it today and are not sure how to tap into it. Lord help us to recognize when we are having expectations that are not measured by your grace. Give us a generous portion of your Spirit that we may serve up fruits that are pleasing to you and that bring you glory. I pray that your Holy Spirit Lord, would minister grace and truth in the quiet places within. Let your voice whisper "Peace be still", to the heart of those who need to know your peace and may your glorious name be exalted throughout every nation. Today and Forever. Amen.







4 comments:

  1. My dear friend. You have NO idea what your words meant to me, especially right at this moment. Too much going on, I'm not feeling well, the cake I baked for tomorrow just literally fell to pieces, and a loved one just sent some ugly, hurtful words my way, which pierced my heart to the core.

    But this....THIS....is what's important, what matters. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Dawn. If my printer was working, I'd print this out and carry it around with me this week.

    Much love to you and to your beautiful family. Merry Christmas, sis. <3

    Pam

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  2. I really needed this today, Dawn. Thank you for listening to the Spirit. May God bless your obedience.

    Hugs,
    Daphne

    P.S. - I'm "F," all of the above.

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  3. Dawn-Thanks for your honesty about the expectations of the holidays and the need for a prayer for peace...I find that right now is the hardest part...the show is over...the wrapping in the trash and a sense of now what? overwhelms me...I am going to give my self the gift of twelve days of Christmas...taking each day as a gift to linger in the presence of Jesus... to be prepared for the winter months ahead...I look forward to more encouragement from your blog...thanks-Kel

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  4. Appreciate, and needed this so much. Merry Christmas, love you.

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walk along the shore with me and leave your footprints in the sand-
I'm listening, friend...in November I will not be replying so often, but instead slip quietly over to your place for a visit. ;)