Monday, November 23, 2015

Heavenly Holidays

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. Colossians 3:1-2, NLT

The holiday season is here, dear reader. Do you feel it? Those of us who struggle with chronic pain, joint disease, or disability sometimes dread this time of year. Many of our friends look forward to all of the shopping, food preparation, and social opportunities. But for some of us, this time of year brings up more dread and anxiety than gleeful anticipation. It’s not that we don’t desire to celebrate the birth of Christ, be with our families, and enjoy the festivities. What brings the dread are the questions: Will I be able to do all that cooking this year? What if I can’t get to the mall to get that perfect gift for my loved one? How much pain will I have to endure over the next couple of months, as I try to measure up to the expectations of the season?

These are all valid concerns, and you may have others of your own that are specific to your particular health challenges. But the bottom line is this: Christmas can be a beautiful celebration of the birth of our Wonderful Savior, or it can be an exercise in futility as we try to accomplish impossible tasks that He never called us to do. So, what should our goals be for the season, as we consider all that we’d like to do, and all that we can do?

The answer is in Colossians 3:1&2. We have been raised to new life in Christ, Amen? So, what does He call us to set our sights on? Things above. He wants us to dwell on Him in all of his beauty, glory, and honor. He wants us to think on our true home in heaven. Shopping, food preparation, and parties are not our reality, my dear sister. Christ and heaven are! This is the very reason for this grand holiday in the first place. What better thing could we be dwelling on at Christmastime than Christ, heaven, and the realities of our true home?

Let’s think differently about Christmas this year. When dread arises from thinking about the chores of Christmas, let’s take it captive and replace it with new, heavenly thoughts. If you’re dreading putting up decorations, close your eyes and think of the streets of gold and the rainbow throne of God. Imagine your jeweled crown that you will throw at the feet of Jesus on that Great Day. No earthly light display could ever match that. Dwell on these things, praise God for them, and then call a friend to come over and help you choose just a few things, then hang them up as you talk about the blessings God has brought to you this year.

Are you scheduled to host the family meal this year, and dreading all the work? Stop, and think on the banqueting hall in heaven, where you will enjoy food and fellowship with the Lord and all his children, in perfect harmony and cooperation forever. Praise the Lord and thank Him for the ways he has provided so abundantly for you this year. Then, begin calling your relatives, humbly asking each to bring a dish or come early to help this year. I know this is not easy, but putting pride to death and asking for help is a wonderfully sanctifying exercise, and the rewards are great.

This season of celebrating the birth of our Savior does not have to be a season of dread and despair. We can change our thinking, and remember that our Lord has not called us to decorate, cook, shop, and entertain because He was born. He wants us to think on Him, praise him, and honor him because He was born and died to give us new life. Let’s demonstrate that new life starting today by setting our minds on Him, on Heaven, and on the reality of our true home!