Lord, you have been our refuge in every generation.
Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from eternity to eternity, you are God.
You return mankind to the dust, saying, “Return, descendants of Adam.”
For in your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by,
like a few hours of the night.
When This Time of Year Gets to You
I’ve already started getting the emails; perhaps you have, too. My inbox is all, “17 Ways to Have the Best Holiday Season Ever” and “The Countdown Begins: XX Days ’til Christmas!” Then I open my actual mailbox and find not just one Target holiday catalog. One for each of my kids, I suppose? Straight to the recycling bin!
This week we’ll dress up our kids and answer our doors with bowls of candy and like all the adorable costume pics on Facebook, and then BOOM! It’s full-speed ahead into The Holidays, two months of merry madness and frantic festivities. As I try to organize my to-do lists (yes, more than one), balance my budget, and fit All The Things into my calendars (yes, more than one), my mind feels dizzy and my heart feels heavy. Even listening to a podcast about not going holiday crazy is stressing me out!
How am I supposed to fit in all in?
How can I do everything without losing my mind?
How can I keep my focus — and my family’s — on what’s true and important?
Finally, shoulders drooping and head shaking, I peek into the Word for just a minute. Maybe the answer’s in there. I know the answer’s in there.
And it is.
There, in a psalm I don’t remember reading before, God reminds me exactly how I’ll make it through another holiday season. “For in your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night.”
“For in your sight…”
I was asking the wrong questions! This isn’t a matter of “how can I,” but instead it’s about, “who.”
Who can help me?
Who is in control of this calendar?
Who do we thank and praise and worship in this season?
Before I spiral into stress about too many tasks and not enough time, I must look toward and lean on the One who created and controls time, the One who is bigger than time, before and after time, never limited by something as small as time. I must remember that, no matter how hard the world tries to whip me into a frenzy over the next several weeks, God remains the same. He is steady, and He is safe.
He is our refuge, and from eternity to eternity (from harvest festivals to new year’s resolutions), He is God.
He is God (and I am not), and He will walk with me through this busy season. He will hold me tight when I’m overwhelmed, and He will protect me when I’m tempted by pride or fear (of missing out) to attempt more than is wise or even possible.
Do the holidays stress you out, too? Do you wonder how you can stretch your minutes and hours to hold more and more and more? Do you need to remember that regardless of how much or how little time you feel you have, God is God?
Friend, I encourage you to turn toward the One who truly controls our calendars, the One who holds all our time in His hands. He is the reason for all the seasons, and if we lean on Him, He will stay by our sides as we walk through this season together.
How will you remember that God is God from eternity to eternity this season?Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
I needed to read this today, Mary. Thanks for help in thinking through this process of living in the moment with all its wonderful happenings. When I try to straddle two (or even three!) holidays all at once, my cheap bid for transcending time — something only God can do! — just turns me into a stress mess. And furthermore, nothing gets properly observed, much less celebrated.
I’m loving fall right now — everything harvest!
When November rolls around this week, I’m going to give thanks with all my heart, and put off the celebration of Christmas until after the pie is gone and the turkey carcass is turning into soup on my back burner.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I received an ad in my email….”Pre-Black Friday Sale”. I immediately deleted it thinking, are you kidding me? It’s still October!! The world would love nothing more than to whip us into a frenzy starting sooner and sooner each year. I am continuing to fight against what the world says by simplifying little by little. My decorating is much less than it used to be. My cooking is scaled down. No one in our house will die if I don’t make cookies. Before you think I sound like Scrooge….I DO, however, make Advent a priority as I anticipate the coming of Jesus – the “Who” you focused on in your post. I read Ann Voskamp’s “The Greatest Gift” and I hang my ornaments on my Jesse tree starting at the beginning of Advent. I try to stay focused on the “Coming” instead of the one day Christmas deadline that I cross like a finish line, exhausted, and collapse to the ground. Like Michele, I try to take one season at a time….one day at a time. Refusing to let Black Friday sales crash my Fall and Thanksgiving celebrations. Keep your eyes on the “Who”…..you nailed it, Mary!
Beth Williams says
You nailed this post! The world wants us to rush around all crazy like & stressed-actually this is of the devil. I just take one season at a time. One holiday at a time. Our church had trunk or treat last night. We had about 20 or so kids dressed up & gave out candy. We also had some food to snack on. Today I shall relax & ready myself for church. My next thing is to get with my in-laws about Thanksgiving. What I will make/bring & what they can do. In between I will take one day at a time relishing the blessings of God.
Holidays don’t mean that much to me anymore. My parents are gone. We only have his parents & nephews. My sisters all live out of state. I just try to focus my attention on the meaning of the holiday/season & celebrate the best I can.
Beth Williams says
Currently counting my blessings like Jennifer Schmidt mentioned yesterday. This helps put the holidays into perspective.
Mary Hood says
Thank you Mary. I needed this. Holidays are always so stressful. Family issues, money issues, last year I left home for one of them, skipping it all together. My search for a way through them heightens just about now as I always ask God to keep things on His level and not mine.
Rebecca L Jones says
Every day should be a holiday with Jesus, a holy day.
Thank-you for writing this. I can clearly remember the call on Christmas three years ago when my Dad passed away. Just days before he would tell me,”Remember the time when…,” not, “I remember the shirt, etc. that you bought.” I agree, scaling back let’s us focus on what Christmas was meant to be, and create special memories.
Have a blessed day all,
Thanksgiving and Christmas have been hard for me. Now and then I have and invite out for Thanksgiving which is nice to spend some time with others and to have a Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings, but like most other Holidays, I am alone. The first, probably years were the first, being totally alone, not having anywhere to go. I would rent a bunch of movies on the day, itself, and mostly watch them all day long. I’m not really into movies, but it did help to get me through. My children would call and that was the end of my Holiday celebration. I would treat all Holidays as if they were like any other day. I would learn at a much later time that my ex came between my mother, brothers and I with twisted stories and lies. The things I learned they were saying and doing was so very painful. I couldn’t believe that my mom would turn against her only daughter and spread the horrible trash my ex was telling her and my brothers. She had my ex to her house for dinner, even getting together for Christmas. I have never felt such pain inside before, it about did me in. But Praise be to God, He is healing the hurts of that time. I can’t say the pain is all gone, but I do know it is not as ouchy as before. Daily, I must forgive them for all the hurt and pain and sorrow my own mother and brothers caused me. Now, Thanksgiving is what I want to be doing all day……..I concentrate on the wonderful things God has done and is doing. I am grateful for Him as I learn I am not alone, He loves me and I matter to God. Christmas Day is not so bad ass my children and I do get together at some point over the Holiday. On Christmas Day, I am free from all the hustle and bustle and can focus on God and His wonderful gift of His Son, Jesus, our Messiah, our Savior and our King.
Mary Carver says
Dawn, I’m so sorry to hear that your holidays and relationships have been so painful. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through, and I’m so grateful that God has walked with you through everything and is healing all of those hurts. I pray you have a blessed holiday season this year, no matter what the actual days and gatherings look like.
Kim B Smith says
Mary, I have always watched from a sideline the busy-ness of the holidays. One of my businesses is a fitness biz and I watch my clients year after year fall off of exercising, gain weight, become MORE stressed and can barely move with that fake smile of the holidays were wonderful. (ha!) This is just an example of how we humans live life. There is so much greatness, bigger, waiting for us in God’s hands.
We are not here to conquer EVERYTHING in one day or one holiday season. I feel we miss the true meaning of holidays, and most importantly the true meaning of Life!