That time of year is here already? It's the holiday season and everywhere you look people are decorating and getting ready for celebration after celebration.
Not to freak you out or anything, but Thanksgiving is just 27 days away, Christmas is 58 days away, and the new year will be here in essentially just two months!
You can anticipate that in the very near future blogs and articles filling your newsfeed will be focusing on three things: food, fellowship, and stuff (random gift ideas and essentially just more and more stuff).
Preparing Our Minds, Hearts, & Spirit for the Holidays
If we don't have our minds focused, hearts prepared and our wills yielded and in alignment with the Father, there is a good chance we can be sucked into a trap that can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or even regretful.
What do I mean by regret? Well, have you ever purchased something or ate something and later regretted it? The temptation for us to leave self-control in the pew and justify it under the Holiday Act is strong.
Here are three things to contemplate and pray about before the holidays are here.
Food can be a huge temptation for sin. In the Christian world, we don't often hear of pastors or teachers exhorting congregations to exercise self-control over their eating habits. Gluttony seems to be a habit Christians like to ignore. While many have no problem condemning drinking or other sins, gluttony is often not only tolerated but committed together!
Proverbs 28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.”
Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”
I know first hand how much of a temptation holiday foods can be. I don't know how many times I have anticipated the sweets, the fatty filled gourmet dishes, and resolved to withhold from eating only to look back on these 2 months of the year with regret. Then I spend the whole Spring and Summer intent on losing the weight I gained during the holidays!
So we need to prepare our minds and meals to reflect one of balance regarding celebration and avoiding gluttony. I am not saying we don't entertain baking cookies or pies, all I am saying is that we need to make a game plan, submit it to the Lord, and ask for Him to help us to have self-control and to model wise decision making for our children! Amen?
2. Fellowship, Friendship, and Family
You know your newsfeed is going to be bombarded with pictures of holiday gatherings, smiling faces, family portraits and more. Now, I actually enjoy this part myself. I LOVE seeing those I love enjoying fellowship together, BUT I also know first hand how it feels to be left out. It's not fun. In fact, it's downright depressing.
If this is you, I would recommend setting some social media boundaries to limit the temptation to become envious of others. Be intentional about your boundaries and ask someone to hold you accountable.
As Christ-followers, the holidays are a perfect excuse for exercising hospitality! Plan for it, be intentional and be open to the Lord using you to bless someone who is alone this holiday season.
This is the time of year when consumerism flourishes in our land. The culture has imposed so many expectations on us and this one leaves people in debt, depression, and regret.
I want to encourage you, along with your spouse, to sit down and write out a plan, make a budget, and stick to it!
Regardless of your personal convictions regarding gift giving, the holiday season can be expensive. Even just the hospitality alone is a hefty cost. So making a plan of action with a budget regarding all spending can be a healthy way to protect yourself from the temptation to sin and overspend.
Yielding Our Desires to Christ
The best way to avoid the post-holiday blues and regret is to make wise decisions regarding how you spend your finances, who you spend your time with, and what you eat. Let's be intentional with how we engage this coming season and show our sons and daughters an example of intentionality, self-control, and ultimately an example of what it looks like to focus on and invest in what is most eternal! Amen?
Lord, we want to enjoy the holidays with our family. Would you reveal to each of us where we should work on yielding our will and expectations of ourselves and others to You? Help us to make time to plan, pray, and commit this season to You for Your glory! We don't want to have regret come January. We ask that your Holy Spirit would reside in us and that we would be obedient to have self-control in those areas we each personally struggle. Help us to live as conquerers. Might our children remember the holidays as a time when mom and dad delighted in fellowship with them and others and less about the stress of buying gifts, wrapping them, and going into debt. Amen.