Whether it’s the gloom of early winter, the speed with which the sun seems to flee below the horizon, or the bittersweet memory of happy times spent with lost loved ones, the holiday season leading up to Christmas is for some a time of sorrow or melancholy.
In recent years, the growing pressure to de-commercialize the family Christmas experience, while a noble and worthy cause, has piled on guilt and anxiety as we try to do everything just right.
For the next month, we dare you to identify what is keeping you from Christ in Christmas and to make a decision to fast from it.
Is it fear, overwhelm, worry over finances, the stress of holiday overeating, a sense of loneliness? Much like our physical need for food, all of these are natural and some are unavoidable. But the answer to that question is probably getting in the way of a relationship of greater intimacy with God. When you are confronted by the urge to give in to the emotion, action, or thought pattern, understand that personal will power is not a healthy solution during a spiritual fast.
Trying harder isn’t the answer.
Instead, bring it God with words similar to this: “Father, I’m experiencing (fill in the blank) right now. I believe this is in response to a deeper longing for something only your presence can fulfill. I implore you to meet this need. I trust in you.”
Then walk away from the thing from which you’re abstaining, whether it’s physical or emotional. You could cement your strong sense of God’s provision by meditating briefly on a Psalm from God’s Word, or spending a few minutes in your advent reading for the day.*
*Adapted from Simplicity and Sacrifice: Embracing More with Less (FREE download right now!)
Resources for Advent
- To sing your way to Christmas: Joy to the World! An Advent Devotional Journey through the Songs of Christmas by Ray Pritchard (Kindle e-book with links to a YouTube version of each song)
- For spiritual companionship through poetry: Haphazard by Starlight: A Poem a Day from Advent to Epiphany by Janet Morley
- If you enjoy paper crafts and want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus: The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
- For short meditations for reflection and preparation for the joy of Christmas: The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper
For more Advent resource suggestions, follow us on Facebook, where we’ll be sharing our personal favorites and books for each stage of faith!