Last week I began a fabulous book titled “Putting God Back In The Holidays” by Bill and Penny Thrasher (Bill is a Professor at my Alma mater – Moody Bible Institute). This book has rattled me a bit because it challenges me to rest in the midst of the busyness that comes with holidays.
This book covers all the holidays, from New Years to Easter to Mother’s Day and Labor Day, and it is filled with practical and spiritual ideas to make each holiday special. But when I received the book, I flipped straight to Christmas because Christmas is coming and I want a handle on it!
Thrasher says this is how we will know if we had a “successful” Christmas : “If you have a better relationship with the Lord at the end of the holiday celebrations, you have had a very successful holiday.”
When my to-do list multiplies ten-fold for the holidays, I find it extremely difficult to have quiet time with the Lord. How can my relationship with God be better at the end of the holidays? To be honest, much of what goes into making the holidays special is up to the women – from cooking, to decorating, shopping to baking, writing out Christmas cards and opening our homes – we are pressed to our max financially and with our time.
Feeling closer to God at the end of the holidays is a challenge for us. And so, a December Challenge has been born via this book and will be coming soon to Women Living Well. They will be very simple and they will focus on you and your relationship with God in the midst of the holidays. I will be quoting some more of Thrasher’s thoughts and giving you some practical ways to rest in the midst of your to-do list.
On page 138, Thrasher reminds us to be on guard against vanity during the holidays. He says “God knows the emptiness and pressure of living independently of Himself. If we take life into our own hands for the holidays, it is up to us to carry our burdens on our own shoulders and to figure out what is best apart from the wisdom of God. Christ came to deliver us out of this vain way of life and to bring us into a relationship with God.”
Isn’t it true that often we take on too much for the holidays. We take on things that God is not asking us to take on. They can leave us feeling empty because we have taken on burdens God never meant for us to take on.
I will write more in the following weeks on this topic, but until then let me share with you one of the practical ideas Thrasher offers in his book for reaching out in your neighborhood.
“One year, this family set up a prayer mailbox on their covered porch. They sent a note to their neighbors expressing their love and care for them. In it, they told them about the prayer mailbox. If someone was hurting or needed prayer, they could put their request in the box – anonymously if they wished – and the family would be sure to pray for them.”
This book is packed with ways to honor God during the holidays and practical tips to live it out. I highly recommend it!
Moody Publishers has generously given me two extra copies of this book to giveaway to two of my readers!!! Hooray! All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment below before Thursday, November 18th at 9pm! I read all of my comments – so if you’d like to add any thoughts or struggles you have regarding Christmas stress in your comment – I will try to address a few of the common concerns in this upcoming series of posts.