Lord, You are the giver of comfort, peace, joy and love!
Help me receive the gift of Christmas in my heart again.

Focus of the Month: Christmas Memories…the memory of the righteous is a blessing.

Let there peace on earth! Joy to the world! ‘Tis the season to be jolly. But what if this season isn’t so peaceful, joyful or jolly. For many of us it can be a time of more low’s than high’s. While everyone else seems to be smiling, laughing, and celebrating we are left feeling alone, broken or sad. In fact, we might just barely be getting through the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Sometimes those precious Christmas memories that once brought so much happiness to our minds are now painful for us to remember. We have lost a loved one, moved away from family, suffered an illness or even become estranged from family or friends. How can we find the Joy of Christmas when our hearts are hurting, when all seems lost? Can Christmas really be filled with joy when it looks so different now? It can be if we can focus on the face of Jesus Christ. Stay with me…

Let’s dig into scripture for a moment:

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). (Isaiah 7:14 NLT)

The coming of Jesus was foretold by Isaiah and many other prophets in the Old Testament. He would be the Messiah, the King of the Jews. Yet, He looked different than what the Jewish people thought He would look like. He didn’t look like a King. He didn’t act like a King. He must not be their King. You see, because of the difference in what they expected Jesus to be/look like…they could not fully receive Him as their Savior and King. They couldn’t receive the joy of Jesus, the beauty and depth of His love for them. If only they could have looked passed their own vision of what the coming of The Christ would be. Oh how full their hearts would have been!

While our circumstances may not be changeable, while we can’t stop the season from looking and feeling different – we can experience the gift of Jesus and all that He has for us. He truly is our Hope, our Redeemer, and our Comforter. Do we trust Him?

Take time to pray and ask Him to help you. Maybe you need to give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays. Not that every day will be easy, but allow yourself to embrace those good things in your life. Mix some new traditions in with those of Christmas past. It’s ok to remember those important moments, but don’t stop making new memories.

God sees us. He sees our pain and He will not fail us. Scripture says:

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. (Psalm 31:7 NLT)

Some of my most cherished Christmas memories include someone that is now with the Lord. I can’t change this, and sometimes a tear escapes down my cheek. But I know that my Joy comes from the Lord and not from anything on this earth. With the help of others I learned how to embrace this and live it. During this treasured time of the year, my prayer for you is that you can fully know the Lord Jesus as your Savior. That you would receive the gifts of peace, love and joy into your heart again. May the God of all comfort go before you and make a way for you to relish, not just “get through” this wonderful time of the year.

Holding Fast to Hope,
Jen

Scripture References: Isaiah 7:14; Luke 2; Psalm 31:7; Genesis 16:13; 1Peter 5:7;