Advent Reflections

The holidays have a humbling way of showing the true conditions of our hearts don’t they? There’s perhaps no greater time in the year that reveals whether or not we struggle with things like anger, irritation, ingratitude, selfishness, or bitterness than Christmas. The “most joyous time of year” can sometimes feel like the most JOY-LESS time of the year. 

It’s in this season we are faced with our year’s worth of prayers; and whether or not we feel like God has answered any of them. Some situations in our lives have not gotten better but instead have gotten harder! We are reminded of the flaws and imperfections in our families, and oftentimes it’s not the “for better” we are overwhelmed by, but the “for worse.” The expectations of the holidays can be crushing, especially when you can’t deliver all the experiences or gifts.
Somedays I feel like my emotions are a see-saw; high on the holiday cheer in the morning, and low in joy and thanksgiving by evening. But know this friend: no amount of meal planning, early gift buying, extra house cleaning, or holiday minimalist tips will fix these emotions and struggles we feel deep in our hearts. Instead of a blog post on the top 3 ways to improve your mood this holiday season, I would like to offer you 3 attributes of God that can transform your heart, even when your circumstances don’t change.

1. God is unchanging.
“But you are always the same, you will live forever.” (Psalm 102:27)
 Did you stop to think about the truth that in all the unrest we were met with this year, nothing about God or His ways changed? He was still JUST as faithful, JUST as merciful, JUST as gracious, JUST as forgiving, JUST as sovereign, and JUST as holy. His Word did not change, nor did His desire to be involved in all the details of your life.

2. God is faithful.
” Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.” (Psalm 119:90)
Faithful- to remain loyal and steadfast; steadfast in affection or allegiance. This is exactly what God is to those who love Him and keep His commandments. He is faithful to His promises, faithful to His people, faithful to His plans, and even faithful to eternity.

3. God is good.
“You are good and you do what is good.” (Psalm 119:68)
As John Piper writes, “God is good. God alone is good. And all good comes from God. Settle in your heart: as long as you have God, you miss nothing.” 

Whenever you find yourself fighting for joy this advent season, I encourage you to write down these 3 attributes on sticky-notes and place them somewhere visible. In your moments of discouragement remind yourself, “God has not changed. God is faithful to me. God is very, very good.

~ Emily