“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him,” Luke 10:33-34
My favorite Christmas song–BAR NONE–is “O Holy Night.” The one line gets me every time, “Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the Angels’ voices” Falling on your knees is not a comfortable posture. And it isn’t attractive. And we don’t see if often. Perhaps because it shows humility and desperation. In 2009-2010, I battled a strong bout of depression. My morning quiet time became unproductive because I honestly didn’t know what to pray, so my prayer journal would go days with no entries. I started praying on my knees. It was weird but I found it to be the most comforting moment in my day. Sometimes, the sun’s rays would beam just the right way through the shutters and I could feel the rays on my back as I was on my knees. As if God was using them to hug me. The depression would sometimes render me horizontal, but praying on my knees got me half way there to standing up. This Christmas, if it’s hard to sing “Fa La La La La, La La La La” take a line from “O Holy Night” and try what I tried. It may be a gift you were looking for.
A Christmas consideration for Luke 1:38, “Then Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant, I am willing to accept whatever He wants.'”
CHRISTmas is the most wonderful time of the year! But this time of year can also yield bouts of depression, or “blues” for people. I’ve had the Christmas blues before; and it’s not that I wasn’t thankful for Christmas because I was. Rather, I had thankfulness and sadness at the same time. If you are having the blues, here are 3 things I’ve done. Again, I am not a professional, just a girl on a journey, sharing her story.
1) Consider Christian counseling in December. If you go once a week, that equates to four sessions. It’s probably the best Christmas gift you could give yourself because you are giving yourself the gift of release and peace. Don’t have the resources this time of year? Then when asked what you want for Christmas, tell them a 4-pack counseling session. If it’ll bring joy to you, it’ll bring joy to them to give it.
2) Go to Church. One of the hardest things to see is someone who tells me that can’t go to church because they’re sad. This can not be! The FIRST place we should run to in our sadness is God’s hospital. There is a supernatural, healing, holistic experience awaiting you that ONLY God can offer. Yes you will have to miserably drag yourself there, but I promise, you will leave better than you came.
3) Give. Give, give, give, give, give. Give old clothes to the homeless, give donations to your church, give time to the elderly, give free babysitting to a single mom, give volunteer hours to your church. It’s true that it’s more blessed to give than to receive…and I would add, also more healing. It’s the ultimate paradox: giving away is filling up. And that’s just what an “empty” soul needs–a fill-up.
I hope this encourages someone today. Merry Christmas, and may you know His peace.
Have you ever wanted to give up on parenting, spousing, leading or serving? Do you know what God says? “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial,” (James 1:12) “Persevere, dad, when you can’t process one more thought.” “Persevere, mom, when the toddler is making you scream.” “Persevere, husband, when you don’t feel like loving her.” “Persevere, wife, when he is never home.” “Persevere, leader, when your team isn’t getting it.” “Persevere, servant, when you’re killing it but nobody’s noticing.” Persevere! GOD declares that when you do…you will be blessed! One of my favorite quotes is, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” (Charles Spurgeon). Through every parenting, spousing, working day, you scoot! Even if it’s one slow & wobbly scoot. Because with each scoot, the snail DID get closer to the ark. And with every scoot, you get closer to your blessing. And dad, that thought you couldn’t process? Was replaced by a comforting notion that God loves you. And mom, the toddler who made you scream? Made you melt when he only wanted to be held by you. And husband, when you didn’t feel like loving her? Your feeling to love was replaced with your action to show it. And wife, to the husband who is never home? Comes home one day, broken, only wanting you. And to the leader whose team isn’t getting it? One day, their lightbulb goes off & they blow you away. And servant, your service that’s gone unacknowledged? Is getting a standing ovation by thousands of angels in Heaven. Friend, be the snail. Persevere. Scoot. And be blessed!
One time I heard Julie Richard say the only secret we should have in our marriages is a surprise birthday party! That is SO good! But even if we aren’t married, we can have a secret we are keeping. And not the surprise-birthday-party kind. The kind I’m talking about will keep you up at night. It will preoccupy your conscience during the day. This kind of secret can make you feel “yucky” on the inside. Something won’t feel right in your heart or gut. This kind of secret has a way of whispering, “you can fix this yourself.” When in reality, God’s saying we need Him (and others) to help us with it. A secret is kept in the dark–but confession ushers us into light. God is light. And light is good because God is good. The antidote to a secret is a confession. Will there be consequence with a confession? Probably. But the blessing of turning a secret into a confession is turning ourselves over to God and God eradicating the prison the secret built around us. The “yucky” starts to go away. The restlessness returns to rest. It’s no longer being hostage to Satan–but kicking him where it counts because you chose light. If there’s a secret that needs to be confessed, there is a freedom awaiting on the other side. I hope this encourages someone today.
This verse is often used during the holidays. I love it when little Linus recites it in the Charlie Brown Christmas movie. Today, are you confused? Are you at a circumstantial fork in the road? This verse says: He is your Wonderful Counselor. He can counsel you in your confusion and set you on the right path. Today, are you weak? Do you feel like if any more weight is put on your back, you will break? This verse says: He is your Mighty God. He will hold you up with His right hand, you may tremble on the rock, but the rock will never tremble on you. Today, are you lonely? Do you have crowds but no companionship? This verse says: He is your Everlasting Father. He wants you to come to Him, and He will be your friend, your father, your family. You will never feel alone when He walks beside you. Today, are you disheartened because there is nothing but turmoil on your calendar? Are you discontent at night? This verse says: He is your Prince of Peace. He is the designer of a peaceful heart. And since peace is His–if He is a part of you–His peace is too. I pray this Christmas verse becomes a daily verse….for where you are today, and what you need.
God can handle what you can’t handle.
God can carry what you can’t carry.
God can heal what you can’t heal.
God can forgive who you can’t forgive.
God can rest what you can’t rest.
God can raise who you can’t raise.
God can love who you can’t love.
God can manage what you can’t manage.
God can forget what you can’t forget.
God can move what you can’t move.
God can accept what you can’t accept.
God can deliver what you can’t deliver.
God can free what you can’t free.
God can resurrect what you can’t resurrect.
God can lift what you can’t lift.
God can mend what you can’t mend.
God can believe who you can’t believe.
God can save who you can’t save.
You can’t. I can’t. But God can.