Everyone is busy.  The holidays this year have been all squished together and that means more stress. Plus, your divorce means stress x 100 (at least!) and add exhaustion and worry and sadness and loneliness and coping and anger into that mix and you have a holiday that some of us just want to survive and get over with as soon as possible.

But let’s reconsider.

I know not everyone reading this is a Christian.  But whatever your approach to God, here’s something that can be encouraging for all of us.  So today, I am just going to copy some words written by the Apostle Paul to a group of Christians meeting at a city called Phillipi in about AD 50s or 60s.  Most likely, someone in that group read the whole letter from Paul (who was under house at the time) to the Christians meeting together at a house church. This was a time of persecution for Christians when they were often beaten and tortured and even killed.  What Paul says is appropriate for them, but it’s also an encouragement for our situation and for this challenging time in our lives.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. i will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me– put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

If we all could just do this, our lives would be good, no matter what is happening each day. We (like Paul), can learn to be content whether hungry or full, whether we have little or much, and we could really know deep down that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are fitting into his plans.”

Let’s all practice contentment and joy (because those traits don’t just come to us … we choose to be content and we choose to find things to be joyful about). This whole weekend before Christmas,  let’s be like Paul, and “Rejoice always!”

Make yourself a wonderful weekend before a holiday that deserves all the celebration we can give.

Love and prayers and thanksgiving,