PASTOR'S PEN: Who am I serving?

Christmas, despite having the name 'Christ' in the word itself, is one of the most difficult times to stay spiritually strong.

Christmas is filled with stress. You try to get to the store for the perfect gift. You struggle to find it and, when you do, it’s on backorder. You stand in line for what seems like an eternity with the thought of many other things yet to do still lingering on your mind. Your house looks like a wrapping paper and ribbon factory exploded. Your family is coming and some are staying at your house. You have to travel and the traffic is intense.

Christmas is filled with envy. There’s beautiful homes that make yours look pale in comparison. They have all the good lights while you still have the giant bulbs from 1960 your mother passed down to you. You head to the store and while shopping for others you see things you hope someone buys for you. You notice so much on sale and debate whether there would be enough, after paying the bills, to buy what you see. There are even ads that come to your door or sit on the right side of your computer screen just longing for you to purchase them. You see so much that you desire, "I want that." "I want this." You tell your kids not to say those things, but in your heart you’re doing the same thing.

Christmas forces you to re-identify yourself. Most of the time you are known by your job or position in life: "I’m a carpenter." "I’m a farmer." "I’m a mom." "I’m a teacher." But Christmas changes that for a few weeks. You may have a few days or weeks 'off.'  You are with your family a little more or alone if you don’t have family in the house. Memories of past Christmas events come flooding into your mind. Who are you? What gives you hope? What will take you into the new year? You just want to throw in the towel spiritually. Is it worth it?

Christmas is a difficult time to stay spiritually strong, but don’t give up. Difficult doesn’t mean impossible. Difficult means challenging, yet with hope of success. You can have a successful Christmas. Here’s a challenge to help you: Begin each day during this Christmas season by asking the question, "How can I serve God today?" Notice I didn’t say, "Serve my kids or co-workers or family or neighbors."  Start your day with the spirit of serving God. How can what you do today please Him? It may be serving your spouse or child. It may be sitting with someone who is alone. It may be giving a gift. It may be letting someone in front of you in line at the store. There are a host of possibilities. Begin your day with one. How will you serve God today?