December 8, 2016 @ 1:48 PM

There are only 18 days left until Christmas and I am stuck in a chair with a badly sprained ankle from a fall down the church stairs last night.  I am the vice chairman of our Christian School Board and was filling in for our chairman who is on his way to Sweden and Denmark for a wonderful Christmas adventure with his wife.  I had Christmas cookies on the table for our members and I wanted hot water for tea, hot chocolate, and apple cider.  This meant a simple trip up the stairs to the fellowship hall kitchen to get the big industrial sized coffee pot for heating hot water.  Unfortunately, on the way down disaster struck and here I am today stuck in this chair. 

Many people live life “maxed out” before the holiday season arrives and then when the holidays hit they get so overwhelmed with the busyness of the season that they totally miss the joy of the season.  I have found that if I’m not careful the extras of the holiday season added onto my regular responsibilities can be a recipe for frustrations, anxiety, hurt feelings, and strife.  Today could be a day when that would be an easy road to go down.  Lot’s of work, Christmas decorations not done, shopping to do, Christmas musical rehearsal tonight, etc. could be over the top but I am at peace.  How did this miracle, and let me tell you this is truly a miracle for this workaholic, happen?  Read on and I’ll share my secret.

The Bible warns us in James 3:16 that when strife “comes in, it opens the door for every evil work.”  Especially during high stress times we need to make a conscious effort to close the door to strife and use wisdom in planning our days.  This means we need to take time to spend in God’s presence and receive his grace, peace, mercy, and love.  Only then can we be the conduit of His grace, peace, mercy, and love to those around us.  My time is first thing in the morning I spend time in prayer and Bible reading.  Anytime of the day will work, but if I don’t do it first, I get so busy that I may skip it and then the day is chaotic all day. 

Grace is God’s supernatural favor, mercy, and empowerment given freely to each of us.  It is His ability working in you to accomplish what you need to do.  When Jesus left the earth, He said “I may be going away, but I’m sending One who will never leave you—the Holy Spirit will reside in you and teach you all things.”  When you align yourself with the Spirit of God you will be equipped for every good work by His grace.  This is a gift available to everyone.  However, God doesn’t force anyone to accept it.  You need to tell Him that you want it and He will give it to you.  He will empower you with His grace to enable you to love others and to help you navigate this holiday season!

Christmas was always the best time of the year for me until my first husband suffered his last illness and hospitalization over the Christmas season.  I was afraid that the next Christmas season would be sad due to the sadness of that year.  I decided that I didn’t want to lose the magic of this special season, but I couldn’t control my emotions on my own.  I went to God and shared this with Him and asked Him to give me a new joy in this season.  Jesus said in John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.”  I took this promise to God and He was faithful and lifted my heavy heart from me.  I challenge you that if you don’t have good memories of past Christmas seasons go to God and ask Him to make you new and enable you have peace, joy, and love through the mercy of God’s grace this year.

"Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love." (2 John 1:3, NIV)