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Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year!!  Right?!

Yes and no.

Celebrating the birth of our Savior, the One who brought light into a dark world, is wonderful!  ABSOLUTELY!  The older I get, the more grateful I am that God sent His Son to deliver us from darkness.  The Christmas story grows more meaningful every year. 

However, the holiday season can sometimes be LESS than wonderful.  The festivities have a way of highlighting things in our lives that either haven't or aren't going the way we would like:

Unfulfilled dreams

Unmet expectations

Illness

Family dynamics

Difficult memories

Broken relationships

Loved ones who have passed

Job stress

All of these things have the potential to make the holiday season a little less magical.  They are reminders that life is a mixed bag of good and bad.  WIth these challenges can come anxiety, depression, and plain old disappointment.  

We often approach the Christmas season with huge expectations.  We envision 3 weeks of pure magic as we decorate, shop for gifts, and enjoy events.  But life on this earth isn't perfect, right?  As much as we try and wish that it was perfect, it never will be because this not our forever home.  Praise God!

After last year's less than ideal Christmas, I approached this season with great expectations.  I pictured us going here and there and everywhere without a care in the world.  In reality, however, it has been a mixture of good and bad.  

I had a whole list of fun things that I wanted to do with my husband and my kids.  I thought that making a list would help me get organized and enable me to "make it happen."  Unfortunately, things like ear infections and sinus infections have prevented me from getting my list of fun things "checked off."

I have also been struggling with life after cancer.  It has been a challenge to move forward out of that battle without being consumed by fear of recurrence.  

But you know: life does not have to be perfect for me to have joy and to be filled with gratitude.  God is good and He meets us in whatever season we may find ourselves in.  

Have you ever come across Scripture verses that just fill your soul?  You know, the verses that just make your heart swell with gratitude and joy over being a child of the Heavenly Father?  I came across 2 passage recently that I wanted to share.

I found both of these passages in Beth Moore's book Praying God's Word.  This book was published 8 years ago and I can't believe that I haven't read it sooner! A dear friend recommended it to me as we were discussing the subject of breaking free from strongholds.  It is not a book that you will read cover to cover.  It is full of Scriptures to pray back to God.  I have been using it during my daily time with God and am loving it.

The 2 passages that have impacted me both speak of hands and are found in the Psalms.  

First: 

"You, my God, open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Ps 145:16

Isn't that so beautiful?!  I love the phrase "open your hand."  It speaks to the kindness and generosity of our heavenly Father.  He does not withhold anything good from those who walk with Him. (Ps. 84:11)

In HIM is where my peace lies.

In HIM are the answers that I seek.

In HIM is where I find my purpose.

Second:

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.  Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul."  Psalm 143:8

While this one does not mention the word "hand," I envision myself coming to the Lord, opening up my hand, and releasing my soul to Him.  Sometimes, I have such a tight grip on my ideals and expectations of how life should look that I forget to surrender myself to the One who made me.  Only God has the ability to love me perfectly and to meet my deepest needs.  Only God knows me inside and out.  Only God has the ability to fill my heart with peace that goes beyond my understanding.  

It is my prayer for all of you, that you take the time every day to come into His presence.  Release your burdens and needs and expectations to Him so that you can enter into His perfect peace.  He will meet you there!

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