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Contentment During the Christmas Season

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Administrative note:

I am on an email vacation through January 6th.  You are welcome to comment on posts, but please kindly hold emails for me until January 7th.  Thank you and Merry Christmas!

 

This time of year can seem to exacerbate loneliness and maybe even tempt many of people into depression.  (Depression this time of year is an issue for lots of folks, actually.)  

MARRIAGE DOESN’T GUARANTEE FREEDOM FROM LONELINESS:

Loneliness is one of the most painful things about marriage, when things are not going well.  Several years of our marriage were the loneliest of my life.

  • sometimes because Greg and I worked opposite shifts for 2 years
  • sometimes because Greg worked a full time job then worked on the house until midnight 6 days a week for months or a year at a time.
  • sometimes I was lonely because I repelled Greg with my disrespect, pride, self-righteousness and controlling behavior and he would ignore me almost all of the time – wouldn’t look at me, touch me or talk with me much at all.  Of course, I had no idea I contributed to him shutting down at the time.  Wow! I wish I knew then what I know now!

I know MANY of you are suffering from loneliness right now.  How I wish I could hug your necks!

Ultimately, I believe now as I look back, that I was in great pain because I didn’t know how to find my contentment in Christ alone.

THE SECRET TO CONTENTMENT:

The truth about contentment is that if you are not content now, you would probably not be content even if you had what you wanted.  Once you have that, you would want something else or something more.

One time when our son was about 4 years old, he said, “Mama!  If I could JUST have that new Thomas the train I would NEVER ask for anything else again for the rest of my life!”  I had to laugh so hard.   Of course there were MANY more things he wanted after that ONE thing he just had to have.  We are insatiable.

If you are basing your contentment on circumstances, then you will always think that if you could just have one more thing, you would be happy.

  • If a guy would just act interested in me, I would be happy.
  • Then a guy is interested in you and you think… if he would just commit to be my steady boyfriend, I would be happy.
  • Then you get a boyfriend, and you think… If I could just have an engagement right, I’d be happy.
  • Then you get an engagement ring, and you think… If I could just have a set wedding date, I’d be happy.
  • Then you have a date and you think… If I could just be done planning this wedding, I’d be happy.
  • Then you have your wedding day and you think… If we could just have a beautiful house, I’d be happy.
  • Then you have a beautiful house and you think… If we could just have some children, I’d be happy.
  • Then you get pregnant and you spend months throwing up every day and you think… if I could just get to my second trimester, I’d be happy.
  • Later in the pregnancy, you think, if I could just have this baby and not be pregnant anymore, I’d be happy.
  • You have the baby and you think… if the baby would just let me sleep for 2 hours in a row, I’d be happy.

It goes on and on and never stops…

I’d be happy if only:

  • I made more money
  • I had better health
  • I lost weight
  • I gained weight
  • my church were different
  • I had a better job
  • I worked a different shift
  • I felt loved by my husband
  • my husband were more romantic
  • if my husband didn’t work so much
  • if my husband didn’t watch tv so much
  • if my husband paid more attention to me
  • if my children were better behaved
  • if my children were in college
  • if my children were out of college
  • if my children would leave the house
  • if my children were back home

If we are not careful – we can make idols of these things and decide that we MUST have them or we cannot be content.  Some of these things are good things.  But we have to be careful where we put them in our priorities.  If we put them above Christ in our hearts in importance – that is big time sin – idolatry.

Hopefully, you get the picture.  There are always more things for us to want, but when we get more things, even good things, if we don’t know how to find our contentment in Christ, we will still be discontent.

GOD GIVES US THE POWER TO CHOOSE CONTENTMENT NO MATTER WHAT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES!

The Bible has a pretty amazing standard for contentment:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 

God’s standard for me to be content is to have Christ and His Spirit and to have food for today and clothing on my back today.

This is not a popular idea today  in our society – to be content with very little.  But this is exactly what God desires us to do.  As we make Christ the MOST IMPORTANT focus of our lives, the other stuff starts to not matter nearly as much – “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”  We can truly begin to say, “Not my will but Yours be done” and we can learn to be content no matter what circumstances may come, trusting God to do what is ultimately best for us in everything.

What a blessing not to have to depend on circumstances but to depend fully on Christ for our joy and contentment!!

How can we be content in any and every situation?

Through Christ who gives me strength!  Philippians 4:13

If God grants us the desires of our hearts – awesome.  But if He chooses another path for us – we can trust that we are in His loving hands and nothing can separate us from His love and that His wisdom is infinitely higher than our own.

16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5

DISCUSSION:

1. What kinds of things help you during the Christmas season to experience God’s love in a deeper way?

2. What kinds of things make this time of year harder for you and fuel discontentment or loneliness?

3. What are you involved in that brings you joy? A hobby?  A friendship? Maybe a ministry to others?

4. How can you avoid comparing your life to what other people have?

5. What blessings do you have in your life right now?

6. How can you plan to shoot down any fleshly feelings of resentment, bitterness, jealousy or idolatry in your heart this week?

7. What kinds of friendships do you have that boost you, encourage you and nourish your soul?

8. Is there someone who is lonely, too, that God may want  you to reach out to this week?

9. How do you plan to focus on being content in Christ this week and next week as New Year’s approaches?

Lord,

I lift up my precious sisters (and brothers) to Your throne room in the highest heaven from which You reign in total sovereignty, love and justice.  I pray for godly friendships and godly marriages for each of these beloved children of yours.  I pray for a sense of family in their churches and in their communities.  I pray for godly mentors for them.  I pray for opportunities for them to minister to others and share the love of Christ and experience the joy that comes from giving of themselves.  I pray for them not to isolate themselves but to reach out to others to develop deep spiritual friendships that will nurture their souls and sharpen them in their faith in Christ and that will bless their new friends, as well, for Your glory.

Let this not be a time of loneliness, isolation, depression and tears.

Let this be a time of great joy, thankfulness, celebration, trust in You, peace, patience and hope as these friends of mine train their eyes to stay on Christ, not on their circumstances.  May they find the true contentment that only comes from Christ this Christmas, and every day, even if their circumstances are not what they wish they were.

Surround my sisters (and brothers) with Your love. Let them spend much time feasting on Your Word, praising You, thanking You, worshipping You, seeking Your face and listening to Your voice.  Make them a bright light for Christ in this dark world. Use them for Your greatest glory this week and every week.  Make them faithful to Your Name, Lord!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

5 thoughts on “Contentment During the Christmas Season

  1. Your inspiring posts and thoughtful prayer have encouraged me much today. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Be blessed with peace and God’s joy through the new year.

  2. April, This post was a wonderful Christmas present and balm to the souls of many, I’m sure. I sometimes feel very sad myself because my mother, birth family, and many friends have completely shunned me for sixteen years–ever since I left the cult-like church I was raised in. However, I remind myself that I can only control what I do, not what they do, and that I have many blessings in my life, including a husband who is truly a wonderful man of integrity. This year you have inspired and helped me in so many ways to be a better wife to him, and this has made us both much happier. I send love and thanks to you and also much love to my fellow sisters/wives that also read your blog. My heart is with all of you!

  3. Merry Christmas April. This is very thought provoking. We are insatiable that’s a fact. Our Christmas will be quite this year. Mark’s kids are probably not going to be coming down for the Christmas holiday for the first time. I have no idea why my husband isn’t going up to pick them up but he has decided not to and it seems to be a touchy topic so I’m not pushing it. I don’t know the reason, his kids do not know the reason, his ex-wife does not know the reason. I just hope he changes his mind because I really miss them and our newest grandson Hayden. He’s just started walking and we haven’t seen them since July.

    Christmas is a little bitter sweet this year. There’s always sadness because I miss my grandson Tanner. I deal with that hole in my life a lot better now but it still exists. Grief is a powerful thing. It’s not something that entirely disappears, it’s something that you just learn to cope with and move forward.

    This year for Mark and I has been an odd year. There have been both hardships and incredible blessings. The last 2 Christmas’s my daughter was in her addiction and this will be the first time since drugs ripped about our lives that she will be here and my new granddaughter Naomi Grace. A granddaughter who was born perfectly and the mere fact that my daughter had become pregnant with her has no doubt saved her life. Today is my daughters 25th birthday. Her 23rd and 24th birthdays were spent in a haze away from her family being God knows where. I’m so thankful that she is home and healthy and sober.

    There were so many blessings this year in my career. I have a boss who is such a wonderful example of leadership. She is a Christian woman who is strong, successful and also caring, compassionate and just such an awesome role model and mentor. This year I have received 2 promotions.

    Most of all this is the year that brought me to God. I can’t really top that one at all. Its the most significant event of my life. Christmas has new meaning.

    I know who all the lonely hurting people are in my life and I will be reaching out to them. Just so that they know someone is thinking about them. Especially if you know someone who has lost a child, today and tomorrow are great days to tell them you are thinking of them. No doubt the pain for them is probably so great that they would rather fall asleep and wake up on the 26th and have this just be over..

  4. Shalom (Peace) April,
    I have been reading your blog a couple months now, and I definitely believe you are being led to the truth in many areas.

    John 16:13
    “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

    A lot of things spoken about on this blog I was ignorant of, and I know He has so much more knowledge and truth to give to free us if we are willing to accept it. Hosea 4:6 tells us that God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

    Not all knowledge is “pleasant” to the unconverted mind at first. Sometimes it’s so hard to accept and hurts! That I know first hand.

    I said all that to say this. This Christmas thing is not of God.

    Jeremiah 10

    “Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

    Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. (

    For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”

    I hope and pray if you haven’t that you would do some research on the origins of this holiday God’s people are to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. This is one of the best documentaries I know of, that covers some of the history.

    Why was Christmas banned in America until 1820
    http://youtu.be/oZAL80TMLaE

    1. Laura,

      Thank you for sharing! I agree, much of what is done to celebrate Christmas is not of God and can easily facilitate greed, selfishness, idolatry, etc.

      Thank you so much!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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