Just five days before Christmas and I need to do an emotional and physical check. To be perfectly honest, I’d have to say not so good. My emotions are all over the place between elated and depressed. I’m totally elated and eager to see my son and family with three young grandchildren; yet sad that I won’t be seeing other family members. Other relationships are still not what I’d hoped for given the past history.
Last night I met a friend for our Christmas gift exchange. She remarked how she could barely contain herself with glee on the drive over. Really? Seriously? She wasn’t kidding. I found myself envious that I wasn’t able to muster up such feelings of joy.
Just what was the matter with me that I wasn’t feeling glowing and happy all over? Immediately I began to question my circumstances and lot in life. Why weren’t those same positive feelings invading my heart and life? After all, it is Christmas — the season to be happy and jolly. So why wasn’t I feeling happy or jolly? What am I investing my time doing? Running here and there, or investing in eternity where present and future rewards emerge.
In sheer desperation, I opened my Bible. Colossians 4:2 jumped out at me and I captured three valid pointers:
* “Devoting yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” In all honesty, I certainly was not “devoting myself to prayer.” A quick SOS here and there (in between searching for a parking spot) probably did not qualify as devotion. But I’d grown weary of praying for the same individual year after year with no evident change. No matter. God honors persistence. My job is to continue to pray believing change is possible because with God nothing is impossible.
* “Being watchful” — searching the store shelves and making countless phone calls for the hot ornament of the year is not what God intended by that phrase.
* “Being thankful” — naming my list of complaints does not equal a positive spirit. It would serve me well to remember the words to the old hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr., (1897) , Count Your Blessings …
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.