Not So Happy Holidays
Written by: Abby Gannon
It’s that time of year again!
Time for gathering with family members you haven’t seen in months, eating lots of food, and taking part in all the holiday traditions.
The expectations begin stacking high and the desire to have this “perfect holiday experience” ensues. You scroll through Instagram and see seemingly perfect families with seemingly perfect homes smiling beautifully for the one picture they decide to post out of 300. You walk down the street and see impeccably decorated front porches prepped and ready to go for the big days ahead.
Maybe you fit this description… maybe you’re trying to hold it all together behind perfectly decorated porches and gourmet dinners. Maybe the picture you post is the only one you’re not shedding a tear in. Maybe… just maybe… “Happy Holidays!” doesn’t quite fit the description for you.
Instead of a perfectly decorated home, maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet. Instead of your family all together, maybe this year is the first one without someone you love. Instead of holiday traditions, maybe your loved ones are arguing and fighting over opposing political views. Instead of gourmet dinners and gifts and traditions, maybe you’re one toddler meltdown away from falling apart.
The truth is, sometimes holidays aren’t the picture-perfect experiences we see in Hallmark movies. Let’s be real… sometimes they’re just plain awful.
And so we run…
Run to whatever form of escape we can find… food, suppression, alcohol, sleep, fake smiles… we could keep going. And as we’re running, we lose sight of reality. We lose sight of what’s right in front of us.
Because, in the midst of all the holiday blues… God is right there. His Word tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Throughout Scripture, God is referred to as a fortress (Psalm 144:2), a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10), a rock (Psalm 94:22), a shield (2 Samuel 22:31), a stronghold (Nahum 1:7), a hiding place (Psalm 32:7). He promises to hide us in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:4).
He invites us to come running into His wide open arms.
There’s this story in the Bible of a son who runs away from home. He rebels against his family after demanding that his father give him his inheritance early. The son leaves, and every single day his father is waiting for him. And eventually, the son hits rock bottom... he runs and runs and runs to things that never fulfill. And he can’t do it anymore. So he turns back. And what does he find?
A father running to him, too... with his arms wide open, ready to welcome him home. (Luke 15:11-24)
The truth is, we’re always running to something. Always.
And the holidays often bring about a sense of running unlike any other time of the year. But God is the Father, running with His arms wide open, ready to embrace us.
And we are invited to run to Him.
This holiday season, no matter what you’re walking through, know that God is a refuge. A safe place. A shelter. And in the midst of the not so happy holidays, He is what we TRULY need.
When the world becomes too much to bear, run to the Refuge! Run to the only one who can truly satisfy!
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