'Tis the Season (Encouragement for the Holidays)

'Tis the Season (Encouragement for the Holidays)

Author: Abi Oxley-Derrick
November 17, 2022

‘Tis the Season (Encouragement for the Holidays)

I am a huge lover of the Holidays. From October to January, I am a big ball of candy-corn, Santa Claus, sparkle-induced excitement. Even at 25, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning every day of the season. But I know that is not the case for everyone. I know that most people walk into Thanksgiving and Christmas Time with things like family hurt, financial stress, and an urge to make everything perfect for the ones they love. It can easily turn the happiest time of year into one of turmoil and disappointment. 

As we walk into this season of the year, I wanted to share a few things that the Lord put on my heart. Here are a few ways that we can reclaim the joy of the holiday season:

1: Surrender All Expectations to the Lord: One of my favorite pieces of wisdom says that most hurt comes from unmet expectations. In the honeymoon season of marriage, in new parenthood, starting a new job, we see the idea of unmet expectations wreaking havoc on what should be joyous seasons! The same idea applies to Thanksgiving and Christmas time. So often, we go into the holidays with a picture-perfect idea of how it’s going to look and feel. The perfect tree, exquisitely wrapped presents, the Instagram-worthy family photos, and memories that will last forever. Now, hear me, those things are not bad. We can enjoy the gorgeous decorations, we can celebrate finding the perfect gift, we can cherish the moments we won’t get back with pictures. The problem is, when these ideas and expectations become the focus of the season, they cause hurt when they’re unmet. My challenge to us all is surrendering these to the Lord before they even happen. Tell Him what you hope to see and experience this season, then let it go. When we enter this season fixated on Him and not what we want out of it, we allow joy to lead out.  

2: Find Intentional Moments: SLOW DOWN! This time of year has the potential to be absolutely chaotic, and if we’re not careful, we will sprint into January feeling deflated and exhausted, with nothing to show for it. During this season, it is imperative that you find moments to stop and spend time with the Lord, your spouse, your kiddos, your friends, or your family. For the sake of sounding too cheesy, remember who this season is about. Not taking time to rest in the presence of your savior, in prayer or His word, would be a shame. Within all of the busy that will happen over the next month, please find time to slow down and spend intentional moments with Jesus and those around you. In 20 years, you won’t remember the food or gifts or decor, but you will cherish those moments. 

3: Find the JOY: The holiday season is so fun, and it doesn’t have to be complicated! Our natural tendency can be to overfill the schedule with outings and holiday-themed activities, which can leave us tired and cranky. But this time of year doesn’t have to be like that! Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The joy of the holiday spirit isn’t the movies and gifts and activities, it is the JOY of the Holy Spirit! Celebrating the King come down to save us! When we fix our eyes back to the one it's about, and rest in HIM rather than the season, we experience true joy. So yes, find the joy of Christmas! Enjoy all of the things it has to offer. But, at the end of the day, it’s the joy of Christ that will sustain and make for a wonderful holiday season. 

4: Commit to a Spirit of Gratitude: We are urged over and over again to share what we’re thankful for at this time of year. We make lists and we go around in a circle to share. But my challenge to you is this: how can we adopt a spirit of gratitude in every moment of our daily lives? Ephesians 5:20 says, “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Key word: ALWAYS! Not just during the month of November! I want to encourage you to walk into this season not with an anticipation of stress or a begrudging attitude, but a grateful heart that the Lord, in all of His kindness, has blessed you with a season to remember all that He has done for you. 

My prayer for you this holiday season is that you are reminded of how sweet the Lord is, that you are infinitely grateful for all that He has blessed us with, and that you have beautiful, intentional moments with the people you love most. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! 


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