The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
Christmas time is a joyful one. Words like peace, calm, bright, and hope dance among Christmas carols and conversations. And for a lot of us, it IS, in fact, the most wonderful time of the year. But the darker days of winter and impending cold can bring fear and make our anxiety swirl. Perhaps the hardest part of these feelings is the juxtaposition of the emotions they bring. We are grateful for the blessings we’ve been given and for the redemption we’ve been gifted by our Savior. Still, it’s so easy to look around and see hunger and homelessness and hurt, and wonder, “Why?”. Sometimes it's even easier to see our own longing for relationship or our own fear of loneliness or sickness or poverty. Why, at this most beautiful time of the year, when people are singing and laughing and lights are twinkling, is there so much dismay? At a time when we are supposed to feel hopeful, what can we do when we feel anything but?
“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
He is here. He is with us. Even in the dark and in the hurt and in the fear. I find that meditating on one verse from scripture can be all I need to fight the fear. When I get overwhelmed by my thoughts and anxiety, I pick His words and put them on repeat in my mind. So when I’m feeling doubt and I’m feeling alone, I have something to lean on. To “fake it until I make it” so to speak. He WILL heal the hurt and pain. He WILL protect us from evil. And while he may not do it the way we think He should or in the time frame we would want, we can rest assured that He can and He will.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear. It almost sounds trite. We are told “choose joy”. “Don’t worry. Be happy.” “Count your blessings.” To me, the choice between fear and joy can be overwhelming. My anxiety takes over; the frightening thoughts bulldoze the blessings that are all around me. The worry bubbles up and spills all over the joy. How on earth can I think of the good, when I am dreading the bad?
The flaw in this “all or nothing” mentality is that the choice from fear to joy is too big of a leap for us to make on our own.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
What if we switch the choices? What if, instead of choosing between fear and joy, we choose between fear and FAITH? The choice between fear and faith gets us as far as we can go on our own and takes us to a place where God can take over. We may not be able to will ourselves into joy but we can reach out with faith and rest in the comfort that God’s plan is greater than any scary situation we can imagine. When we stop trying to control fear with joy, we can rest that His will is good, and it will be done.