The holidays can be fun but also stressful. We compiled a seven day guide to help you live purposefully and cultivate healthy relationships even during this season’s many festivities.
Day One: Thanksgiving
Congratulations! You made it to today! That certainly is just cause to be thankful. Of course your life is not perfect. Maybe things did not go according to your 2017 plans and New Year’s resolution. While there are lots of things to complain and be despondent about, it is far better for your wellbeing to be thankful instead.
So look around. What else can you give thanks for? Here are a few suggestions/hints:
1. Life (means there is still hope for you);
2. Family (means you are not alone in this world);
3. Friends (means there are people who care about you);
4. Co-workers (means you have a job);
5. Home (means you have shelter from the rain);
6. Safety (means you can rest a while);
7. Food (means you have sustenance to keep you alive);
8. Transportation (means you can get to various destinations faster);
9. A church (means you have a place to be spiritually fed);
10. A loving God (means you have a hope for redemption in Jesus Christ).
Meditation: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
#thanksgiving #dayone #bethankful #relationships #lookaround #life #family #friends #co-workers #food #safety #transportation #LovingGod #home #Achurch
Day Two: Peace
Peace is a gift not possessed by everyone. Deep inner peace frees you from worry and anxiety. It is not dependent on external conditions. It does not change based on situations and circumstances.
Peace is not a commodity that can be bought, wished for, or developed. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is contrary to worry, fear, and anxiety. Peace tramples on those life robbing dispositions and states of being.
This holiday season, pray for peace for yourself and those around you. Pray for the peace of God to enable you to share about His love and goodness in the midst of your festivities. So whether your holiday gatherings are loud and merry or quiet and somber, pray for the peace of God which far exceeds anything we can ever understand.
Meditation: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
#peace #daytwo #innerpeace #HolySpirit #dontworry #prayabouteverything #tellGod
Day Three: Compassion
Can we talk? Let’s talk holiday gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) for a few minutes.
So, you will be celebrating the holidays with family and/or friends. Whether you are hosting or you were invited, you likely will be in the company of people you enjoy and maybe some who require a bit more patience and prayer from you. Chances are there will be at least one instance where a little bit of compassion will go a long way. Hey, for some of you compassion will save the meal, the day, relationships, and maybe an inheritance.
It may not be easy for you to show compassion to your loved one, family friend, or the random person you happen to cross paths with. That person may be engaging in a lifestyle which lies in contrast to how you live your life. That person may have willfully made life choices which resulted in their current situation/ misfortune/ mess (you choose the best word 😉). You may look at this person and be at a loss for words or simply just want to shake your head in amazement. You however, will choose to demonstrate compassion to this person. Why? Because it is what the Lord asks us to do.
So with the help of the Holy Spirit at work within you, compassion will be your response to this person. Then do ensure that you pray that God’s desires will be made manifest in that person’s life and also yours. Today move with a purpose.
Meditation: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 NIV
#compassion #daythree #relationships #holidaygatherings
Day Four: Joy
The official unofficial start to the hustle and bustle/ endless shopping season is here. This season is dubbed the most wonderful time of the year. Indeed it is probably the most festive time of the year in many, many regions throughout the globe. People generally are happier and carefree.
We certainly should be merry when we turn our attention to the basis of this time of the year. When we strip away the eating and drinking and mass consumerism we can focus our attention on the supernatural birth of the Savior, Emmanuel.
While happiness and merriment are wonderful conditions, the remembrance of this historical event moves us pass happiness and merriment to JOY! Because happiness is a temporary state dependent on external circumstances but joy is a far greater emotion one that can be experienced in times of peace and war, in the face of sorrow and merriment.
Let’s ask the Lord to give us joy remembering that we ought always to be joyful. Let’s ask even as we enter into the largest season of merriment.
“Always be joyful.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16 NLT
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
#joy #dayfour #hustleandbustle #Emmanuel #bejoyful #fruitoftheSpirit #happinessvsjoy
Day Five: Love
The lights are going up, wreaths on the door, list making, gift shopping, and Christmas songs have filled the air. The Christmas season is well on its way. It’s like a wave hit our shores and washed over us all. Christmas celebrations have overwhelmed us whether we like it or not. So where are you in this season? What has washed over you and overwhelmed your heart and mind? Hopefully it is the gift of love. You see freely God sent Love to our planet and washed over our World when Christ was born. Many celebrate this gift of love every year at Christmas. We are fortunate to celebrate and benefit from God’s unconditional love. It truly is the best kind of love.
In the Greek language, the language of much of the New Testament writings, the word is agape. Many describe it as a God kind of love. That is only God can love truly in spite of. In our striving to be like Christ we nevertheless can love others and love God through the work of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will allow you to extend His love to others in all you do this Christmas season.
Meditation: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
#love #dayfive #agape #loveGod #loveothers
Day Six: Patience
The lines will be long. People will be extremely busy. Things will be out of stock. There will be changes in travel plans. Some people will show up, some people will not. Others will be eager to participate, others…not so much. ‘Tis the season for a whole lot of this and then some. You are likely to experience some kind of disappointment this season because disappointment is enviable. It is a part of humanness.
Exercise patience in the face of this all. Patience calls for restraint in the absence of anger. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Therefore trying to patiently survive this holiday season in your own strength will be difficult if not impossible in the absence of the Holy Spirit. So enlist the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask with confidence knowing that God wants to be in communication, in relationship with his creation.
Meditation: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
#patience #daysix #bepatient #disappontment #restraint #fruitoftheHolySpirit
Day Seven: Kindness
It’s easy to be kind to the people you like and love. It’s a bit more difficult to demonstrate kindness to neighbors, strangers, and people who “rub you the wrong way”. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. You are having a great day. The kind of day where you could easily run and have a “mountain top experience”. Then out of nowhere comes this person who you would rather not encounter. Here they are however, approaching you or already in front of you. You see them. They see you.
These are the encounters that really “test our faith”. It’s easy to repeat “Christianese” especially when things are going well. (i.e. I’m too blessed to be stressed.). It is an entirely different situation when you are face to face with a situation of testing. Every situation of testing; every person you may encounter that you are not very fond of, can be traversed successfully. For the testing of your faith will bring about patience.
The gift of kindness equips us to “experience victory” even when we encounter that unexpected situation or person. Kindness is a condition of your heart. With a heart full of kindness you are equipped and then able to demonstrate good works to others. It is only developed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord help us to be kind to our neighbors and do them no harm.
Meditation: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
#kindness #dayseven #bekindtoyourneighbor #forgive #test #testingofyourfaith #tooblessed #Christianese