I have shared before that the Christmas season is not my favorite time of year. Because of my childhood abuse, the holiday season, from Halloween through Christmas, is filled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) triggers for me. By this time of year, I have typically been in a holiday depression/funk that keeps me too self-absorbed to notice what is going on around me. Thanks to the grace of God and His mighty power, I have not sunk into that funk this year … perhaps for the first time in my life!
Because I have not been in a self-absorbed funk, I have been able to pay attention, for the first time, to people’s attitudes and behaviors during this “most wonderful time of the year.” I would hardly use the words “most wonderful” to describe what I am seeing. I’d like to focus on a few of the attitudes I have noticed to encourage you to take an inventory of yourself and, if you see these growing in you, to take proactive steps to align your attitude with God’s will for you. He did not send Jesus to sell billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise and heap mounds of stress onto people. Don’t let society suck you into taking your eyes off God during this busy time of the year.
One prevalent attitude I have noticed is an increased amount of envy. While I know envy is something that most people wrestle with from time to time, it seems to be out in spades at this time of year as people compare their own personal circumstances (whether financial, relational, or otherwise) with even their closest friends!
Do not covet is one of the Ten Commandments for a reason – coveting keeps our minds focused on stuff rather than on God. Nothing that you can see, whether it’s material possessions or relationships, lasts forever. The stock market can crash, and even the most loving and dedicated marriages end when one spouse dies. Only your relationship with God is everlasting, and it’s yours for the asking, regardless of how close anyone else is to God.
My prayer is that if anyone wants to envy me, he or she will envy my relationship with God because that’s all I have of eternal value, and it’s what I deserve the least. I am not close with God because I earned it – it’s due to the incomparable riches of His grace. There’s no reason to be jealous because God wants a close relationship with you as well. It’s yours for the asking!
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace wearing a Scrooge hat and saying, “Bah Humbug!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]