Tis the Season!

Thanksgiving to Christmas – this is just the best time of year.  It brings us to all the good things in life encapsulated in the 4 Fs: food, family, friends, and football.  There are some other things also that don’t begin with the letter f: gifts, travel, parties, and the best weather of the year, in my humble, but completely accurate opinion.  What is not to enjoy?  This is the season, unless of course, it is not.  There is something about this most wonderful time of year that exaggerates anything in our lives that is short of wonderful.  Things that are not right in the home are really not right during this season.  A lack of abundance during the rest of the year is a gaping hole at this time of year.  Any losses felt during the year are most felt now.  I mean anything that is wrong in life is most wrong right now.

There is a simple reason for that.  Loss, hurt, disappointment, and emptiness all leap off a background of abundance and joy.  Thanksgiving is all about thinking on the goodness and abundance in life, but if something is missing then that loss really stands out when everyone is talking about plenty.  Christmas is about joy, and when everything is bright and colorful, the darkness of our pain, anger and disappointment blares louder than the holiday cheer.

 

There is a book called The Message in our Emotions.  It teaches a really interesting idea.  God made our body with nerve endings that send messages to our brain.  These nerve endings that start down at the tips of our fingers will send a message saying, “That is too hot.  Pull us back!”  We do not like that pain, but the pain tells us there needs to be a course adjustment.  Well, what we understand about the physical body, we should also understand about the emotional body.  God has wired us with emotions, and some of them we do not like: anger, hurt, loneliness, fear.  These emotions, just like our nerve endings are sending a message to our brain: change course – this isn’t working.  Many of these emotions are sending a signal, not about what is wrong in the world, but what is wrong in us.

 

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up . . . – Hebrews 12:15

 

The inability to enjoy and celebrate may be a sign that bitterness is taking root in our lives.  There are legitimate reasons to be disappointed, hurt, fearful, anxious and mad.  There is wrong in our world and at times we are on the pointy end of that wrong.  But God has not designed our body to hold that in.  He has not designed us to think on it over and over.  He has not designed relationships to work when they are holding on to it.  So He calls us to love and to forgive.  He calls us to put that hurt into His hands and trust Him for justice, fulfillment, help, and provision.  It is not to challenge us that these commands come.  It is to protect us and help us that God says forgive, trust, or don’t worry.

 

The Lord calls bitterness a root, something that is down deep.  It is something that grows into something large and visible.  When bitterness takes root in our lives it will grow and it will be visible.  It will steal life, goodness, relationships and the ability to enjoy anything.  No wonder the Lord warns us against this.  So how do we handle hurt, anger, disappointment, and loss?  Hebrews 12:15 says with grace.  Bring to this situation, not what is deserved, but what is good.  Will this be a season of joy, or bitterness?  Well, that is going to be your call.  There are certainly things you cannot control, other people for instance.  But you can choose to bring to a situation, not what is deserved, but what is good, and in that good, you will find joy.  I am praying each one of us has the wisdom, the courage, the faith to do just that.  It is such a great season.  Let’s not miss it.

 

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