Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Captive to Christmas

The Holidays can be stressful.  It starts right before Thanksgiving.   There is an under toe of things to do.  The last few years I have struggled with the holidays.  It begins with gifts.  Did I get the right thing?  I don't know what to give so-and-so.  Oh NO!  I forgot about so-and-so.  Then it keeps going, work gets busy as we try to squeeze in all these things before Christmas.  Then there is baking and cooking and eating.  I look down at my waist line and shrug it off because I know there are more parties and food to come.  Then there is a little sadness.  I am sad because there are people I want to see but can't.   As I looked through my address book this year, I saw addresses for family members who have passed, and I miss the tradition of Christmas with them.  This time comes every year, but this year I was caught off guard.  As though I was just not paying attention to the time.

Some where in the middle of all this chaos, the Holy Spirit began to move.  My daughter won an award at school.  She was given the Fruit of the Spirit award for Peace.  I was so proud of her and her beautiful accomplishment.  However, I didn't really consider what God's PEACE really meant.  As I continued to stress over the Holidays and life's little struggles,  I felt like God was telling me, "I have come to set the captives free." 

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
Isaiah 42:6-8
I was being held captive by all the Holidays of this world.  I am struggling with the things of the season that are not of God.  My internal debates about Santa, or my worries of the family get together, who will be there and who will not, are all consuming brain space, and worry.  None of those things are important, if you are focusing on what and who the celebration is really for.  Then the Holy Spirit brought back the subject of peace.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7
....Prince Of Peace, of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.  WOW!  No end to the peace found in Jesus.  What a story.  God sent His only son as a baby to free the captives, to give righteousness to a sin marred world, and give us PEACE. It started with a baby.  A baby that would grow into a man that would give us freedom from sin.  He would offer the Holy Spirit to each of us who just believed.
You may be thinking duh, I have heard the Christmas story a million times.  I find that as my belief and Faith in Jesus grows, the more distractions and distortions try to invade my life.  After this year, I am not sure I will ever feel the same, this year there is a new level of personal connection.  A new stronger belief that Peace is possible to an extent I never quite grasped before. The peace found in the gift of Jesus.  Going forward, I will remember that I am FREE.  I no longer need to feel like a captive to the stress of the season.  Jesus came to release me of my stress and worry.  He says in Matthew: "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"  My answer is NO.  I can say that by adding more Jesus to my Holidays I can add more PEACE.  Now for the hard part, let go of the control and hand it over to the Prince of Peace!
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:9-14
This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!  Merry Christmas!