What to Do when your Christmas is Blue…

‘Tis the season.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for many people.  For others, it can be a difficult season.  One recent study reported that 45% of Americans dreaded the holidays.

Some believe that the end-of-year triggers a state of reflection…a time to think about the inadequacies of life or sad memories from the past.  Other studies have shown that shorter days and the absence of sunlight can contribute to the holidays blues.  Whatever the reason- we know that the holidays can be difficult for some.

Maybe its difficult for you.

What can we do to prevent the holiday blues?

Take some time off.  Take some time during the holidays to focus on yourself.  Exercise.  Read.  Spend some time in the morning in prayer or reflection.  Just 30 minutes a day of quiet time can recharge your batteries and keep you energized for the rest of the day.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  Psalm 46:10

Give back to a good cause.  Get out of your own troubles by helping someone else.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter.  Participate in an Angle Tree program.  Deliver meals to the elderly.  Do what you can to engage with others who are in need.  Helping others gives you a fresh perspective on life and your attitude toward the holidays.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4

Reconnect with someone from the past.  Think about someone who has made a difference in your life.  Take 5 minutes and send them a hand-written note.  Call the distant relative who has been struggling with health issues.  Drop by and visit your former teacher who is now in assisted living.  Text your college roommate that you’ve not seen in five years.  Relationships are important.  The people that you contact will love the effort, and these holiday communications will benefit you as much as the recipient.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Always remember- this year and every year- Jesus loves you.

We often reflect on the birth of Jesus at this time of year.  I’m happy to celebrate his birth, but it’s equally (perhaps more) important to reflect on his sacrifice and death on the cross.  He gave His life up for you and me.  He allowed himself to be crucified so that we may be free from sin- and have eternal life in Heaven.  Jesus knew we would be broken…sinners.  But he loves us anyway.  No matter what we do- Jesus never leaves.  Draw near to him this holiday season.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

Let’s pray for those who may be hurting this holiday season.

And as always, please let me know how I may pray for you.

God bless.

 

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What to do when your neighbor is dying 

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Our neighbor has died.

John had been sick for some time. I hadn’t seen him in almost a year, as cancer had weakened his body and trips outside the home had become few and far between.

One day I saw a number of cars in John’s driveway. His wife, Grace, met me in my front yard and let me know that hospice had moved in. She asked if I would like to say goodbye to John.

I was embarrassed.  I had often asked Grace about John when seeing her out in the yard. I had not, however, visited with John in a long time. I had prayed for him for a year- but I hadn’t prayed with him. I had failed him.

I went into the house and said a silent prayer for John as he slept peacefully. He died late that evening.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.  Ecclesiastes 12:7

I have since wondered about other neighbors in the same condition.  Not just those who are physically sick, but those who are spiritually troubled.

People with heavy hearts, tired souls and troubles that give them little hope.  Maybe it’s a bad relationship.  Perhaps depression.  Or maybe life has dealt them so many blows that it’s just hard to keep going.

These are our neighbors.  They need our engagement in their lives.  They need hope.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  I Peter 5:10

I pray for a greater awareness for pain and struggles that others may be dealing with.  I pray that I can help a neighbor with their burden…and that someone might have the awareness to help me when I am struggling.

Please let me know how to pray for you.  God bless you.

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When your kid hurts

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My kid is hurting.

We’ve spent the better part of two years trying to diagnose and treat a sports injury for one of our children.  It’s been a frustrating 24 months…with one treatment followed by another in an effort to alleviate a painful, nagging condition.  We’ve driven to sports medicine clinics all across the state in an effort to find a solution.

We should count our blessings.  While it’s been frustrating, the condition is treatable.  There are many other children facing much more serious situations than what our family is experiencing.

You know the feeling.  Perhaps it wasn’t a sports injury for your child- but there are many “hurts.”  Maybe they’ve experienced disappointment or rejection from a difficult situation at school. Perhaps your adult child has lost a job or experienced stress with their family.  Regardless of the age or situation- it’s tough to see your kids struggle.

We want to protect our children- to shower them with love and take the hurt away.  This response is natural.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

Just like we long to protect our children, God cares and wants what’s best for us- His children.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 118:6

What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31

While on this earth we will always long for comfort.  What a blessing that this help is unlimited and available to all.

Please pray for me to be more aware of those who need to be comforted. And let me know how I may pray for you.  God bless you.

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