I love the holidays, especially now that we live in beautiful northeast Ohio, where Christmas lights are strung across real pine trees instead of around cactus. This year will be truly joyful for we are sharing Thanksgiving with family for the first time in 25 years! I cannot express how much we are looking forward to that day.
For some however, the holidays can be a painful, not happy time. Some have lost loved ones and feel an emptiness within. Others might harbor long-held hidden resentments against family members. A few find themselves lonely in a crowd, feeling like the black sheep of the family. When that occurs, one might find themselves consuming more food in an effort to unconsciously squelch that inner pain. If one is trying to regain a healthy lifestyle, this could be truly defeating.
Food chemically fills a vacuum. However, no food item will ever fill the void within a lonely, hurting heart. Recognize that certain nutrient cravings are acquired through the brain’s hypothalamus. Nutrients changes physiology. For example, chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter that pacifies the pain, acting as an amphetamine, which numbs and makes one feel better. Comfort foods such as mashed potatoes and mac and cheese provide feelings of comfort and security. Others foods such as popcorn bring back memories of a more joyful childhood and who wouldn’t want to find shelter there?
But if you stuff personal resentments within your heart and place a smile on your face, thinking no one’s the wiser, you’re wrong. Because God knows. He sees your broken soul and the anguish within your heart. If a family get-together is tough to endure, realize that Jesus knows your pain. He knew what it was like to feel rejected. He understood family conflict for even his brothers and sisters didn’t honor or believe he was the Christ until his Resurrection.
“For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” (John 7:5)
Ever feel like an outcast? Do you find yourself competing in a “can you top this” moment because your cousin got an executive promotion and raise and you flip burgers at a fast food place? Word to the wise: “God doesn’t care!” He looks at your heart, not your wallet or position in life. He shows no favoritism. (Romans 2:11) God wants you to strive to be the best you can be with the talents He gave you. You have worth because you ARE. God created you as a loved being and only wants the best for you.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” (Ephesians 1:4)
I realize it is easy to flippantly say, “pray for others and try to view them through God’s eyes,” but if you harbor resentment in your soul you are only hurting yourself. Let others see Christ shine through you this season. If necessary, visualize Jesus sitting at the table and smiling at you for HE is your Guest of Honor at your table. Please don’t self-destruct simply because someone else is unkind. Only our LORD’S opinion is important.
God can fill the void within your empty soul. Strive to honor Him in all you do this Christmas Season for we truly have been given the best Thanksgiving Fellowship of all, a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Next: Practical Ways to Avoid Saboteurs