Appreciating Christmas requires seeing it from a new perspective

For many single people, appreciating Christmas seems like an undoable task.  During the winter holidays, millions of us are depressed, lonely, and just want the whole thing to be over.

While you may feel relieved when mid-January arrives, time goes quickly.  Another Christmas will be on you before you know it, with the same old battles.  Unless you can sleep through December and half of January--and some singles try to do just that--you need a strategy for dealing with Christmas permanently.  You need to see things through a new perspective.

How can we avoid the stress and materialism and make Christmas what it should be?  And more specifically, how can single people approach this holiday to get joy out of it?

Appreciating Christmas for its gift

Without rehashing that tired cliche, "Jesus is the reason for the season," let's think about what Christmas means to you, personally, from a spiritual perspective.

Christmas is a tangible expression of God's love for you.  We often lament the fact that God is invisible and usually silent.  We singles, especially, sometimes feel as if our prayers go no higher than the ceiling.  Well, Christmas is proof that's not true.  God not only hears your prayers, he anticipated them before you were even born.

I used to think the one thing I wanted most was a spouse.  I wanted to be happily married.  But as the years rolled by and I became wiser, I understood what I wanted all along, and what I still want most, is to spend eternity with God.  Now mind you, praying to God for marriage is a worthwhile request.  God blesses Christian marriages.  They're part of his plan.

But I think everyone's secret desire, one which they may not even be aware of, is a core longing for God.  Most people sense deep-down that they're missing something in life, but they never figure out it's God.  I believe human beings are hard-wired to long for God.  We came from God, and we won't be completely fulfilled until we return to him again.

We can't do that on our own.  We're sinful.  We can't keep the Rules, as hard as we might try.  We singles are famous for wanting our own way.

That's why the gift of Jesus, who saves us from our sins, is so crucial.  Without Jesus we'd be lost, not just wandering around clueless, but lost to hell and the punishment we deserve.

Ah, but with Jesus we have assurance of love that goes on forever, with no end.  It's a colossal love, unlike any we've known here on earth.  You really have to think about this for a while before it hits home.  It's so important you have to take some time out and think about where you'd be without Jesus.  Appreciating Christmas comes when you finally grasp where you would be.

Appreciating Christmas for others

We singles can be self-centered.  At home, we don't have to share.  Often we can do what we want, on our own schedule.  At times we can see other people as intrusions, even nuisances.

Appreciating Christmas fully demands that you see things through other people's eyes.  You begin to understand that they have the same problems as you.  They may be putting on a brave front, but they have fears and worries too.

Even married people have insecurities.  It's easier to forgive them when you realize their world is not as perfect as you earlier imagined. 

Everybody needs help, even those people who get on your nerves.  Jesus offers his help to everybody.  Most reject it, but it is there for the accepting.

Sometimes we have to be Jesus to others, in the sense that we need to show them the compassion they're not getting anywhere else.  Because God has been gracious to us, we are indebted to be gracious to others.  As we're forgiven, so we must forgive.  That's what the Lord's Prayer tells us.

Appreciating Christmas for yourself

We singles are an odd lot.  We teeter between "I'm just fine" confidence and "I'm the most worthless person on Earth" insecurity.  Without a spouse to affirm us, we easily get caught up in the advertising world's pitch that there's something wrong with us, and if we buy X, Y, or Z, then we'll be okay.

Don't laugh.  It's a powerful temptation that millions of people fall for.  They desperately try to keep up with with a certain image until one day they simply burn out.  They can't run on that treadmill any more. 

Appreciating Christmas for what God thinks of you means you finally "get" it.  You take a hard look at what they want you to be, then you understand that God loves you just as you are--just as you are--and it takes your breath away.

In God's eyes, every believer is as worthwhile as Jesus.  You are righteous.  You are accepted.  You are deserving of God's love because Jesus washed your sins away.

No more striving.  No more trying to measure up.  Christmas means God gave you Jesus so you are all right through him.  You are adopted into the family with all the rights your brother Jesus has. 

                                  Thank God, you are just fine in his eyes.

Appreciating Christmas means stopping, getting away to a quiet place and thinking about this astounding gift to humankind and to you in particular.  It's stunning, really, and the motivation behind it was nothing other than love.  Love for you.

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