The holidays are truly something to look forward to.
They give us an opportunity to thank God for all the blessings He’s given us.
Or…we allow them to cause us more stress, anxiety, pressure to keep up with the Joneses, credit card debt and discontentment.
In his letter to the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul says to, “Rejoice in the Lord always”. (Phil 4:4)
How is this even possible?
Especially during all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season?
Are You Choosing To Trust God?
The truth is, you’ll always have many reasons to be thankful to God.
You can purpose in your heart to rejoice and thank Him at all times!
That’s because trusting God and being thankful to Him is a choice.
Take Job for an example.
I don’t think anyone has had it worse then he did.
Seemingly out of nowhere he loses his 10 children, all his wealth and possessions, his physical health, and the love and support of his wife.
He literally had a horrible, no good, very bad day!
But it’s how he responds to these situations that speaks volumes to us as fellow believers.
Even when his wife told him to, “curse God and die…” (Job 2:9)
Even when all his friends blamed him for everything that was happening…
Even though he lost absolutely everything…
He still chose to trust God.
He chose to say, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10)
Sure he asked God questions and cried out to Him.
He was in anguish over all that was happening, but He never turned his back on God.
He chose to believe that God would see him through…
And that’s exactly what God did.
Check out what Jeremiah 17:7-8 says,
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
So again, you have to choose to trust God with all that’s within in you.
When you do, He will give you a peace that surpasses all of your own understanding. (Phil. 4:7)
He will comfort you, encourage you, and give you the grace you desperately need to keep pressing on.
Here’s a great picture as an example:
Do you see how just a couple of the trees are still standing after the hurricane?
And others are completely uprooted and destroyed?
As a Christian, you can be like the trees still standing strong.
By choosing to trust in God and place your hope in Him alone, you too can weather life’s storms.
If you don’t, you will completely fall apart when the trials of life inevitably come.
Are You Choosing to Count Your Blessings, Not Your Problems?
It’s easy to count your problems.
But have you taken some time to really count your blessings?
Whenever I’m starting to feel discouraged or depressed, I take out my journal and start to list things I’m thankful for.
Once you get going, you’ll see how easy it is to fill up the entire page!
Sure, maybe your life isn’t picture perfect.
Maybe your husband will burn the turkey…again.
Maybe you’re not at your goal weight or where you wanted to be financially.
But you do have so many things to be thankful for.
How about your salvation?
Or that you’re still alive.
Or that you have a roof over your head and food on your table?
When you really stop and take an inventory of your life, you’ll be encouraged to see how blessed you truly are.
Remember, life here on earth was never meant to be forever.
Similar to the first settlers who established Thanksgiving in the 1620’s, you are but a pilgrim too.
A pilgrim passing through this life on your way to eternity in heaven.
Are You Choosing To Be Content?
“True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it…” – 1 Timothy 6:6-7
The key to being thankful is really choosing to be content.
It’s not about having the biggest house, the fastest car, the perfect family, or the smallest dress size.
It’s about being okay with your lot.
It’s about being satisfied with what God Himself has given you for this season you’re in.
It’s choosing to be grateful for what you do have right now, not what you want to have someday in the future.
Remember, the grass is only “greener” on the other side because it’s FAKE!
It doesn’t matter how much money you have either because money doesn’t buy happiness at all.
How many celebrities have you heard about who are miserable instead of joyful?
How many have sadly committed suicide?
So you see, it’s not about your external circumstances because they’re constantly changing.
Happiness comes and goes, but joy and a thankful heart can be constant.
That’s because they’re based on your relationship with God, not on your emotions and circumstances.
You may be happy driving your new car off the lot, but what happens to your mood when you hit the curb and pop your tire?
Knowing who your God is and keeping your eyes fixated on Him is the only way you’ll find true joy this holiday season.
Are You Choosing To Praise God?
As Pastor Levi Lusko has said, “We all have the choice, the choice to rejoice!”
It’s time to rejoice!
It’s time to celebrate!
It’s time to be grateful!
And it’s time to praise the Lord with all that is within you!
Choose to be thankful in all circumstances.
Choose to step out of your comfort zone and share the Gospel with your unsaved family members.
Choose to put the needs of others before your own, and show the love of Jesus Christ to those relatives who may be a little difficult to love.
For such a time as this God has chosen you to be His hands and feet in this fallen world.
So try not to sweat the small stuff.
Try not to complain or walk around with a bad attitude.
Don’t allow bitterness to take root making you unthankful to God.
Live each day to the fullest.
And make the most of your time with the ones you love. (Matthew 5:16)
You see how easy it is to find reasons to be thankful this holiday season no matter what you’re going through?
So what are you waiting for?
Count your many blessings…count them one by one!