Well, December has arrived and we are now bombarded with sales ads, nonstop Christmas music, and wish lists. There are so many beautiful facets of winter, December and holidays. I feel such gratitude for all God has blessed us with this past year. I’m thinking of having a little evergreen tree with the ornaments being things that signify all of God’s miracles and blessings we’ve enjoyed in 2015.

I’m going to make a confession. For many years, I have not liked Christmas and sort of gritted my teeth, prayed and sludged through it, looking forward to the new year. I have celebrated it mostly to please and appease my family. I do try to make it fun and special, though my heart tends to yearn for the end of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate the birth and life and resurrection of Jesus. I simply do not like the commercial hype, going into debt, and on and on.

This year I’m attempting to do some things differently. We always have our nativity as the focal point.This year I hope to garner more passion from all my family on gratitude for our blessings and giving only things from the heart that encourage thankfulness and praise to God. Family is so important and I think showing each one what they mean to us is more special than unwrapping expensive techie items.

For those of you who find the holiday season difficult from losses this year, financial stresses or other factors that block your joy, I want to pray for you. I think that instead of allowing depression to seep in and set up camp, it’s imperative that you go to the Lord and openly pour out your heart to Him. Release your tears, shout your anger, whisper your fears—whatever you need to share with your Lord. He knows it anyway. You will find healing in placing them all in His capable hands. Then, make a decision to leave them there. You can. It’s a matter of will.  Trust Him even when you don’t feel like it.

I hope you will then get up, dust yourself off, and set your face like flint, to focus on Jesus. Make a list of things you usually don’t do during the holidays that you would enjoy or that would bless you and your family. Give that list to Him as well. Figure out which things you can go ahead and begin working on. Do just a small thing each day toward your goal. New ideas will come. Make an intentional decision to make this year different….and good. New traditions can be inspirational for all those in your circle. If you have no family, step out of the boat and make your home a sanctuary that brings you peace, then reach out to others who might be in your same or a similar situation. Invite someone from work or a neighbor or other person God brings to mind. Or, stop being stubborn and accept invitations from families who want to include you. Whatever your case, decide that this year you are taking the reins and making a blessed holiday happen. Yours does not have to look like anyone else’s. It’s special to you.

These suggestions are what I have done for myself. I’m still a work in progress. If you need prayer, please contact me. I will be happy to pray for you. We can do this folks!! Because…we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! We’re celebrating His birthday, so it should be a happy and fun celebration.