All Posts, Blog, Suffering

Dealing with Difficult Decembers

The countdown to Christmas Day is well underway. Shopping, services and sugar are a very typical expectation for this time of year. I saw a church advertise that it’s having five different variations of Christmas Carol services with different kind of music. I honestly don’t know what to say to that. On the one hand, I think, brilliant! Good idea, trying to invite as many people as possible to come and hear the good news by offering a little bit of everything. On the other hand, the thought of all of those services seems a tad exhausting. The busyness could almost threaten to drown out the message over the noise and excitement of the events themselves. But I digress…

December seems to be exciting in all this build up, but now that I’m an adult (I know, I still can’t believe it either), it’s just a busier month like all of my other relatively busy months. Don’t mistake me for the Grinch or Scrooge. I enjoy the festive season as much as the next elf.

But December just feels different to every other month. I guess it’s inevitable with all the extra lights, activities, music selection, film choices and delicious festive food. We’re all looking ahead to the 25th (the big day) and then to the 31st (because it’s just a weird few days after Christmas isn’t it?!), just so we can have a ‘fresh start’ on January 1st. And then the 365 days start all over again, with mixed emotions depending on how you feel about it.

However, rather than looking ahead to Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or the outstretched year ahead, I suggest looking to someone instead. The dates come and go, but Jesus has come and will come again. Look to Him. Revelation 1:8 (NLT) says, ‘“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Seasons, feelings, circumstances, people and so much more come and go. Yet, the Lord is unchanging, everlasting, sure and steadfast. What a comfort for us in the difficult days.

I love that December is Advent, leading up to the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. For Advent this year, I really want to slow down and ponder more about the return of Jesus. So much so I tweeted about it (therefore it must be important, right?):

We spend so much time enjoying the nativity and celebrating the miracle of our Saviour’s birth, that we often forget to get excited and expectant once again for our Lord to come back. Followers of Jesus need to bring that excitement and anticipation 365 days of the year. The novelty will never wear off because the hope, light, love and light of Jesus is what is needed every single day. We do not know when Jesus will return, but we need to prepare our hearts and be ready. Ready for God to change our heart and mind daily until we eventually be with Him in glory, or ready for Him to take us back when He returns.

With the long, drawn out darkness that often accompanies the winter, we can feel that December is a reminder of the dark difficulties we find ourselves in. There may be Christmas lights all around, but the light in our eyes seem dimmer as we are aware of the struggles. It’s only a few days into December and I can already feel the sense of overwhelm and worry push itself into my mind. With that temptation to go about life as if it all depended on me, I have to remind my soul that only one thing is necessary. To sit at the feet of Jesus, and let Him gently restore my heart’s priorities. I’m tenderly reminded of the greatest gift I have ever received: God’s gift of forgiveness through Jesus, meaning reconciliation to the Father, eternal life with the Son and boundless joy and perfect peace in the Spirit.

How about you, friend? What does December look like for you? I pray you will know the love of Jesus for you this season and always, regardless of what circumstances you face. I hope that you will receive Him as Lord and Saviour. Life may still be difficult (Jesus says that there is also a cost of following Him, and it’s not an easy road). Yet, He promises never to leave or forsake you, and that He will be with you always. Take heart, be comforted and know that there is hope, even in difficult Decembers.