Ready or not, here come “the holidays!” Tomorrow marks exactly one week before Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday season that concludes with New Year’s.
To get us all in the mood, I’m posting the first of the devotionals from One Thousand Gift Receipts: A Holi-Devo. If you like it, I hope you’ll consider purchasing the devo on Amazon. It’s only $2.99 for download (iPad, Kindle and computer). And I pray your holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s) is filled with blessings!
Faith Is like a Box of Chocolates:
You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth,
if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
Who doesn’t love Forrest, Forrest Gump with his decidedly precise speech and bumblingly winsome ways? I’ll never forget watching the movie classic when it first came out in theatres. Like everyone else, I cheered for Forrest as he sprinted down the football field, cried when Jenny left him yet again and railed against the system that caused Bubba’s death and Lieutenant Dan’s amputation. I wished Jenny could realize what she had in the doting Forrest. I admired Forrest’s patriotic and unwavering commitment to God, country, friends and ping-pong. I chuckled at his naiveté, amazed he didn’t get hurt or killed for his ignorance. And I sobbed as he cared for Mama, Jenny, and then, finally, young Forrest.
The world gained a wonderful, new catch phrase from the movie: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest’s mama often repeated the phrase to him—presumably attempting to explain life’s unpredictability.
As we approach the holidays—and the upcoming whirlwind of activity—I think this phrase suits the occasion. Though we don’t know what we’re going to get, we can always rely on faith to get us through. Some folks will have their best Thanksgiving and Christmas ever. They’ll celebrate with family and friends the blessings from the past year. They’ll exchange gifts, stories and myriad hugs and kisses. Peace will reign, and joy will permeate their festivities.
Others will simply endure. Because of the circumstances of the past year, they dread pending interactions, questions, or, worse, silence. Some have buried loved ones this year. Others have seen their marriages or families crumble and felt powerless to stop the freight train hurtling toward them. Still others witnessed financial crisis or a move to an unfamiliar place. They’ve clung to faith like a life preserver—indeed, that’s what is has been to them.
Whether your year has been amazing or awful, nothing that’s happened has gone unnoticed by the God of the universe. Your heavenly Father has witnessed every stellar or terrible moment. And He’s remained close by. He’s shielded you, celebrated with you, comforted you, interceded for you, and loved you through it all.
We might not know what we’re going to get. But we get it alongside our powerful God. As long as we have faith.
Prayer: Lord, I know you’ve traveled the road with me this year, and I’m so grateful for that. Continue to grow my faith. Give me opportunities to exercise complete faith in you and your power.
Spend five minutes (in fact, there’s no time like the present) just sitting quietly. Have a pen and pad or journal handy. Take a couple of deep breaths, then ask God to reveal to you what he wants you to do to prepare for the upcoming holiday time. If you’re excited and anticipating special times with family, is there someone in particular you need to minister to? What can you do to meet the emotional needs of those who might be hurting?
Perhaps you’re the one who hurts. Depending on the events of the prior year, you may worry about trying to keep a smile on your face during the holiday. That’s OK. God sees. Let his peace, comfort, security, strength and grace pour over you. Ask him to cover every aspect of the coming season that you may experience his joy, his peace, his blessings even in the midst of pain.