“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In the holiday season, peace can be replaced with anxiety, happiness can be replaced with sadness, and a slow pace can be replaced with a whirlwind of activities. Anxiety over countless things can cause us to lose sleep and saps us of joy. The happiness that once was prevalent during the holidays has been replaced with sadness over a loss, a problem, a tough year, or many other things. Lastly, we all know how quickly our schedules fill up and the demands that the holiday season can bring. The slow pace like in our favorite Christmas carols quickly turn to a rushed madness of getting to “the next thing.”
Slow down. Breathe. Pray. Give thanks. Trust God. Of course, these negative feelings get amplified during the holiday season but the truth that is given to us in 1 Thessalonians 5 should be remembered every day of our lives. Rejoice always, even when things around us don’t give us reason to. God has us. Pray continually. Whatever we’re going through, however we feel, whoever is around us, pray. God already knows our stuff. Praying doesn’t let Him know we have a problem, it lets Him know we trust Him with the problem. Give thanks in all circumstances. Everything we’re going through is molding us and shaping us more into His image. There’s a reason for it all, and He promises that it’s ALL for our good. So, no matter what it is and no matter how hard it may seem, give thanks.
When God sent Christ Jesus to Earth, it wasn’t about hosting the perfect Thanksgiving dinner and then heading out early to buy the best gadget possible. It wasn’t to cause us stress because our kids need to experience all of the best holiday activities. It wasn’t about worrying what they think or holding on to a grudge from what they did. It was about our salvation. It was about wiping our slate clean forever. It was about peace. It was about a forever joy that transcends all circumstances. As we enter the holiday season, don’t get wrapped up in the what. Get wrapped up in Jesus, and thank God that he sent His son for us.
Slow down and reflect. Read the Bible when you feel anxious. Pray constantly. Remember, it will never be easy. It will never be just as you planned. It will rarely be smooth. But, God has a plan and He has you by the hand. Rejoice knowing the reason for the season isn’t impressing people, spending money, and buying stuff. It’s all about Jesus.
Michael Schlact is the Field Manager/Player Personnel for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Professional Baseball team. He was a 2004 3rd round MLB draft pick by the Texas Rangers & has been in professional baseball 13+ years. A native of Marietta, Ga., Michael has a wife, Jillian, & son, Sawyer. The couple is expecting another son in March.
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