Reading for Today: Numbers 14:1-5, Neh 9:16, Acts 7: 37-37
The wilderness was a place designed to be a testing ground for God’s people coming out of bondage. The Journey from Raamses to the Red Sea, then onward across the desert to the Jordan River was days of design by the Master Planner. It is during these days we learn to trust Him, obey Him, and do His will.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s is just around the corner. For some, these are fun-filled days. These days of reflecting, replenishing, and relaxing are enjoyable to many in society. For others, these days are anything but enjoyable. Instead of reflective memories, they are repulsive. Instead of times to replenish, they are times of remorse. And instead of opportunities to relax, they are filled with unrest. At best, to some, these days are wandering through the wilderness with no real purpose or plan.The Mayo Clinic even has a medical term for these “holiday blues.” It’s called “seasonal affective disorder” or SAD.
What causes this opposite effect on such wonderful days for others? What can we do as people of God to help those who experience a completely different perspective on these days?
Causes of a Sad Holiday instead of a Glad Holiday
- Family Conflict – Often when people get out of sync with their schedules, unresolved family problems are not fixed with the added time together, rather they are magnified.
- Financial Pressures – Each year the items we purchase seem to get bigger and more costly. The food, gifts, and gadgets, not to mention the travel costs these days.
- Busy Schedules – Often the time is filled up with activities, programs, shopping, baking, and instead of enjoying these days, we are stressed out to the max, trying to finish one more thing, and relationships are replaced with self-imposed responsibilities.
- Unrealistic Expectations – We live in a selfish society. If things do not happen the way we think they should in the time frame we expect, and the order… well, you get the picture. Life can become miserable when someone has expectations and they remain unannounced till the last minute.
Cures to Reverse a Sad Holiday to a Glad Day
- Rethink your Expectations – This begins by changing the question you need to ask yourself well before the special season you will face. Instead of “What will Christmas be like for me?” ask yourself, “What will I be like this Christmas?” It would be a great idea to sit down with those you desire to be with and schedule days and events in advance. Last minute surprises are sometimes delightful, but most of the time they become dreadful and dutiful instead.
- Rethink your Obligations – These special days have a commercialism that will discourage any and all who gravitate in its direction. Do you really need to attend to all those “traditional” involvements? Perhaps this article will help you remember to make someone else’s day special that normally would not have such a blessed day as you might experience. It is still more blessed to give than to receive on these days, like it is any other.
- Rethink your celebrations – Don’t forget, for instance, to invite Jesus to His own birthday party. During Christmas, my family reads the Luke 2 account along with other activities centered on the Saviour. We are faithful to the services at our church. After we hang all the decorations, we save the best for last. A nail is hung at the base of the tree in our house remembering the reason for the season. This is a time of prayer and thanksgiving for our Saviour. During Thanksgiving, our family reflects on God’s goodness in our life over the last year. These are small examples of many that I could give that make these days special for us.
If you want to go back to Egypt, it is only because you have never been to Canaan. Canaan is a life where His identity becomes ours. Canaan is a life where we work ‘from’ our identity not ‘for’ our identity. For those who experience the loss of a loved one, regardless of the season, remember this truth. The wilderness is that season of our lives where God, through our loneliness, teaches us that His will is to do something in us, not merely do something for us. What may seem like a wilderness, is just a wonderful opportunity to learn in a great way to love and trust Him. Who do you know today that might be lonely and need your helping hand?