the "Holiday Season" and everyone is listening to Christmas music, watching
Christmas movies and planning special times with family. Yet, in spite of
this time which is supposed to be "joyous," stress is at its highest. A
friend, Grace, wrote me, "I am SO STRESSED lately, and then there's the
buying and storing and wrapping." On top of that she is only working two
days a week.
For some the stress goes far beyond just the shopping and normal holiday
stress. They are feeling the pressure of having no job, of not being able to
make house payments, of trying to put food on the table.
Others are stressed at the political situation of our country. Some unhappy
with the current leadership, others unhappy with those who are opposing
their view of how things should be done.
I wish I had some magic I would invoke that would make everyone instantly
feel better. I wish I could do something which would make the stress
disappear, but I can't. What I can do is remind you that you are not in
control of your life and the reality is that you never have been.
I read a little story many years ago, which says what I want to say. It
seems that it was Christmas time and the local elementary school was putting
on a Christmas play. One little boy had the part of an angel and had one
line to say, which was: "Behold, I bring you good tidings". After rehearsing
it he asked his mother what "Tidings" meant. She told him that "Tidings" was
another word for "News".
Things went well until the night of the actual performance. When it was time
for him to say his line, he was so afraid that he couldn't remember the
line. Finally he blurted out, "Hey, I got news for you!"
As I was thinking about this problem I remembered a scripture which applied.
As I was looking over some old teaching notes dated almost 25 years ago and
found this note on Habakkuk 3:17-19. It said, "Scripture shared with me by
Karen Kennamer". That passage is the "News" I want to share with you today.
Notice what Habakkuk says:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are
no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the
LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the
Notice how another loose translation puts this message into words we can
understand and apply: "Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the
strawberries don't ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat
fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns
empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my
Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain
strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain!" (The
"Counting on God's Rule to prevail," WOW, that's really news isn't it! God
will prevail, he always wins. Our life here shouldn't be about getting all
of our "TO DO" list items checked off, all of the gifts purchased and
wrapped. It's not about how we are going to survive when things get tough.
True life (the joy of living) if found when we turn our lives over to the
one who Rules over All and always wins.
I'm working hard at doing that and sometime being successful and sometimes
not, how about you? Maybe in the midst of "this stressful holiday season"
it's time to refocus and remember who is really in charge of our lives!
-- Russ Lawson