Father, we come before you now on bended knee, hoping to honor you with our integrity. Please make our judgement as sound as steel and be our hands upon the wheel. Give us strength and vigilance on our routes and help us to serve others, as You did, Lord, without any doubts. Remind us to be gentle, humble and kind, and help us when we stumble in body and mind. Please shelter our families whilst we are away and bring us safely back to them at the end of this day.

Navigating the Holiday Season

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A notification recently went off on my phone one morning when I was getting ready to come in. Normally that early in the morning I don’t look at notifications, but this time I did. And it was a notification that someone had commented on a Facebook event for our family Christmas and instantly, I thought 2 things: 

  1. Holy cow, Christmas is very close. 
  2. What the heck is this Christmas going to look like?

I was thinking about that in the context of this family gathering. So this side of the family is first of all, a large family. But the matriarch of this family passed away this year. And so my thought is, what does this look like in a new landscape where we don’t have this person, who we always had at every family gathering and who really ran the show and made the decisions, or at least told us what her decision was going to be?

What would this look like when you mix a bunch of people who are still grieving, all together – you get all these opinions and different ideas, stuck in the same room. A lot of the time, that is not something you are looking forward to. 

So I was filled with a little bit of anxiety of what is this going to look like for me? For my family and kids? What kind of tensions are we going to have to balance? What kind of personalities are we going to have to deal with? And it got me thinking that even though it sounds like it just cooled off and Christmas should be 9 months away, we are sliding in sideways to Halloween and after that it is going to be full of holidays.

And while there are parts of the holidays that I really love, there are also parts that give me a little bit of anxiety as they’re coming. So I wanted to speak to that a little, and I am assuming that I am not alone in those feelings like “oh great, we’re about to take this rollercoaster ride again.”

So as the holiday season approaches, it can feel like we’re embarking on a journey into uncharted waters. For many this time of year is a mix of joy and challenge, much like a sailor navigating a turbulent sea without the guidance of a lighthouse. However, just as the lighthouse serves as an unwavering beacon in the storm, we can find hope in God to navigate the holiday season with purpose. 

Relying on a solid foundation, the holiday season often brings a whirlwind of emotions and expectations – sometimes those expectations are put on us and sometimes we put them on other people – it’s easier to get caught up in the chaos. Like a ship seeking refuge in a storm, we must anchor our hearts to the solid foundation of God’s promises. 

When we do this, we can navigate the holiday season with stability. Consistency in the midst  of change – holiday traditions evolve, family dynamics shift, and in these moments it is crucial to remember that God’s character remains constant. As the holiday landscape changes, our hope in God provides us with a steady force, helping us to embrace new traditions, and face the inevitable changes.

For some, the holidays can be a time of loneliness or grief, and can be a challenge to find light in these dark moments. Just as the lighthouse guides sailors through the darkest nights, God’s presence can lead us through an emotional and spiritual dark season.

There is safety amidst the storm. When the holidays can bring stressful family gatherings or financial burdens, we can find refuge in God as a safe harbor. His hope offers us peace amidst the storms of holiday stress and anxiety. 

Shining our hope – just as the lighthouse shines as a beacon of hope for sailors, we’re called to share in the hope that we have in God in the holiday season. Our unwavering hope can be a light to those struggling or feeling lost. 

So as the holidays approach, I want to encourage you to number one, remember that this season comes around every year and we make it through every year. But also to rely on each other, and rely on people you have close relationships with in your life. If the holiday season gives you the chokehold of anxiety, talk to someone about it. If you are struggling or you feel like you will struggle during this holiday season, do something kind for yourself and give yourself the opportunity to talk to somebody about it. 

Thank you Tanis for your guest devotional! For those who don’t know, Tanis Jamar is J Bar’s Chief Wellness Steward and is constantly seeking out ways she can benefit the mental, physical, and emotional health of J Bar staff and their families. You can learn more about Tanis on our “Meet the Team” page!

If you need someone to talk to or know of  during the holidays or any other time, feel free to reach out to our Ministry team at ministry@gojbar.com.

Tanis Jamar
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