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Fear Not and Take Heart
By Rock Church - December 10, 2003

Realities of the Christmas Season

Emotions can become very strong during the Christmas season
Emotions can become very strong during the Christmas season

Christmas is a time of celebration, a time of family and togetherness. Yet, there is a dark side to the holiday season, such as an increase in depression and suicide. Family stress levels rise, and for some this means the unfortunate occurrence of domestic violence. For others, Christmas can become an excuse for excessive drinking and partying.

These holiday-related problems often lead to depression, regret, and other negative feelings, which can start a cycle that may last throughout the year.

Why Do I Feel This Way?

Even as Christians, we may not realize or understand that these feelings and thoughts are not random and should not be allowed to take root in anyone's heart. In John 10:10, Jesus calls Satan the thief and says he comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. In contrast, Jesus says of Himself, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

What is the Truth?

For some people, Christmas is the most depressing time of the year
For some people, Christmas is the most depressing time of the year
The truth is, God does not want us to dwell on these negative feelings, nor does He want us to be harmed by them. The Bible speaks about where our hearts and our faith should lie in trials such as these.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:1, 6-7

God doesn't want us despair or hold on to the feelings of the world. He wants us to hold fast to Himself. Only In Him can we find true contentment. We should not feel anxiety about anything, but rather we should pray and make petitions with thanksgiving to God. Philippians 4:6 It is then that the peace of God will be kept in our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.

How Do I Stand Fast in the Lord?

David declares of God in Psalm 62:6, He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. If we give into feelings of depression and regret, we are cutting our faith off at the knees.

Faith is the hardest thing to maintain, yet it carries the greatest reward. Be faithful to Him because He is faithful to you. 1 Samuel 12:24  Remember Romans 10:7 in which the apostle Paul says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

How Can I Battle This (for myself or someone else)?

The best way for us to fight feelings of despair is to study the Word of God, making sure to relect and act according accordingly. Whether it's for yourself or someone else, faith-filled prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have as believers. Faith moves the hand of God.

Paul tells us in Hebrews 4:16, to fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in good time for every need. You have the right to go before the throne and lift up to God whatever or whoever may be on your heart, even if it's yourself. Paul also speaks of Christ overcoming temptation, so that He may be able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

You are Never Alone!

God is always with you, even when you think you're alone
God is always with you, even when you think you're alone

We are created in the image of God, and just as a mirror reflects the image that appears in it, we too have the ability to reflect Jesus' love to those around us. Remember to take heart when you are suffering and feel vulnerable, for it is during those moments that Christians find themselves closest to the heart of God. Paul tells us in Romans that if God is with us, who can be against us? Do not despair for He is with you at all times, in all things.

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5

We need to let go of whatever causes us hurt, no matter how afraid we may be to confront our fears. Accepting the will of God in our lives and submitting to Him in all ways allows us to rely on His strength. He knows the feelings that our hearts hide and the shameful face that we turn away from Him. His love for us overflows and He's crying out to us so that we will find our way back to Him and His throne.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

What Do I Do Now?

Fellowship with other faith-filled believers can bring a new passion to your own walk with the Lord. Christ said, wherever two or more are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

Not everyone will experience this kind of assault on their spiritual life during the holidays, or year-round for that matter, but that doesn't mean that we can't be a blessing to someone who is. This is why it's so important to walk in the Holy Spirit, for if we are walking in the Spirit then we can be more sensitive to the direction that the Lord is leading us.

Have you ever looked at someone and felt in your Spirit that something wasn't right? Or have you ever been uncomfortable around someone without knowing any real reason why? As children of God, we have an awareness of the darkness that surrounds people, a spiritual discernment.

People who are overwhelmed by feelings of depression during the holidays or in their every day lives can battle them on a daily basis if they look to Jesus for strength. Even if they don't want to admit it, these hurting people are crying out for help, and need the support of a church.

If we make the conscious decision to be open to the will of God, a scripture quote or a short prayer may be exactly what someone needs to hear. It may even give them hope during a time of year that can be surprisingly difficult.

God's Word will not return void. Isaiah 55:11