CLERGY CORNER: A Season of Joy

Posted on 31 October 2013 by LeslieM

Holiday decorations seem to make an earlier appearance in store aisles and living room windows every year. Even though we’re still just shy of November, you don’t have to look far t o find Christmas trees or tinsel.

While the holidays bring happiness and celebration, they can also be an especially difficult time for those who are hurting or lonely. The reflective nature of the season has a way of magnifying life’s problems.

When holiday blues strike, they can make you want to pull away from the bustle and keep to yourself. Resist that urge. The people around you are there for a reason. Not only can they encourage you when you are feeling low, but the way they see you handling the difficulties in your life can help them in turn. Here are 3 ways to reclaim joy and share your underlying strength this holiday season:

Borrow from others – If you start feeling depleted, be quick to lean on the faith of those around you. Try thinking of your faith like a gas tank. Sometimes, your tank runs low. But, at just the right moment, God brings other people around you who have full tanks. You can borrow from their reserve to make it through. If you surround yourself with a network of strong, faithful friends and family, they will be there to step in with the help you need.

Part of the reason God created the church was to give you a circle of likeminded people, willing to come alongside you when you need support. Let me encourage you: If you aren’t part of a local, Biblically-based church-find one. You need a community of people who will rejoice with you in good times and comfort you in difficult times; people who can lend you their faith and strength when you need it most.

Be a willing witness – There’s power in being vulnerable enough to let your difficulties be seen by others. How you handle hardships can be an incredible witness to other people. Everyone you know is going to face failures, doubts, relationship problems, health issues and other circumstances that have the potential to shake them to their core.

When you show strength in the face of the same types of situations, they will notice … and they will want to know how you do it. They’ll become curious about your faith. When they ask where your strength comes from, be ready to answer:

In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)

Part of the good that will come out of your hardest times will be your ability to relate to and help other people who are dealing with similar situations.

Turn Pain into Purpose – God works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), all things – even the layoffs, the rebellious kids, the break-ups and the foreclosures. He is constantly weaving every circumstance you face into a beautiful tapestry. Every pain serves a greater purpose; every failure leads to a greater future.Choose to walk through your painful times in a state of awareness and God will show you what he wants to do through them.

Enjoy the season ahead! I pray that it will be a time of joy and celebration with the loved ones in your life.

Nelson Searcy is lead pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton. The 2.5 -year-old church meets at Boca Raton Community High School (I-95 and Glades Rd) each Sunday at 10:30 a.m..

Nelson is the author of 11 books and served for 10 years as a pastor in New York City before moving to South Florida.

Each person who visits The Journey Church in November receives a free copy of his latest book Unshakable: Standing Strong When Things Go Wrong, –on which this article is based..

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