There is something about the holiday season that creates certain feelings in us. Tingly, warm, and joyous feelings, it almost feels surreal at times. It’s a combination of Christmas movies, snow, family, food, presents, and the most important of all, the birth of Jesus. It doesn’t get any better.
But can it get worse?
Though it may be the “most wonderful time of the year,” we can’t forget that there is a spiritual grinch plotting on ways to steal away your Christmas joy. And that spiritual Grinch is none other than satan himself.
In DR. Seuss’ Christmas classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch is a scheming green creature with a hatred for Christmas. His goal in the movie is to destroy Christmas by stealing gifts and decorations from the people of Whoville. Satan has similar plans, not to steal away gifts or decorations, but to steal away your joy, your peace, and your gratitude towards your family and friends.
Guard your Joy
Satan robs your joy by destroying your connection with God.
How does he do it?
The Christmas season is a “break,” so to speak. Students don’t have classes for a week or two and most workers also get a few days off from work. This taking a “break” mentally can bleed in to your relationship with God. And once you are disconnected from God, the smallest of things will take away your joy. However, when rooted in God, the little things won’t faze you. You’ll understand that God is much bigger than whatever your circumstances present.
As the scripture says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” —Luke 10:41
This verse sums up what the holidays could often be like for us: stressful. Martha was worried about many things, but as Jesus reminded her, “few things are needed, or indeed only one.” Satan wants to take away your peace, and he does this by distracting you and making you worry about unimportant things or about things you have no control over.
Now there is nothing wrong with making preparations or buying thoughtful gifts. It only becomes an issue when you let those things rob you of your peace, your connection to God, and of your time with family and friends.
So what do you do when you feel stress creeping into your heart? You pray. That’s what the scriptures calls us to do in these circumstances. Pray and cast your anxieties on God, and he will grant you peace beyond understanding by guarding your hearts and minds in Jesus (Ephesians 4:8). It might seem simple, but it works.
One Christmas, many years ago, I asked my parents for Power Rangers action figures. I remember the excitement I had opening the package on Christmas morning, but as soon as I saw the action figures, my excitement turned to disdain. They weren’t Power Rangers at all, more like an imitation of them; they were fake and I didn’t want them. The next day I placed them in a bag and threw it over the fence into my neighbours backyard.
As I reflect back on that Christmas, I can now see my lack of gratitude and entitlement as a child, which is nothing out of the ordinary for a 6 year old, but even as an adult, I can find it difficult to be grateful. Maybe you can relate. Although Christmas is not all about presents, exchanging gifts during this time of year is fun, encouraging, and brings people together. However, satan will do whatever it takes to ruin anything good so don’t be surprised if he tries to plant seeds of resentment and ingratitude in your heart.
This could happen in many ways: maybe you receive a gift that you don’t like and think to yourself, you deserve better than that. Or maybe you compare your gift to someone else’s and you say to yourself, why would they get me this?
But you don’t have to fall into satan’s trap this Christmas. Count your blessings and not your woes; and instead of thinking so much about self, focus more on how you can give, encourage, and make someone’s Christmas better. Let’s remember the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”- Acts 20:35.