It starts the week of turkey carving. Shopping carts collide as frazzled women reach for the last box of stuffing (or if you’re me and you realize Trader Joe’s went out of stock weeks before) while they chorale their rows of ducklings behind them.
We are determined to get what we want, and this mindset lasts through the season for most of us.
I talked to a friend in England who was sad to say the madness of black Friday has come to port on the British Isles. Local news reports hostility on the high street! Really?! I’m speechless and surprised that the good-mannered British would lower the bar, simply for a sale.
What’s your mindset? Our thoughts and our actions are wrapped like a bow, inseparably. If you’re not careful, everything you do this season will be based on this belief:
My happiness is wrapped up in my ability to get what I want.
What I want…
- Out of the season.
- Out of my plans.
- Out of my bank account.
- Out of my friends and family.
- Out of my time off.
This is the attitude that drives their shopping cart into mine. The stare-down when the last box is on the shelf and you both reach for it. The emotions that overtake us in public. The kerfuffle at Best Buy that makes national news. The angry conversations between family. The depression that sets in after the sun hides from us at a ridiculous hour.
We need His peace. We need God’s thoughts to overwhelm ours, and drive out this over-promising-and-under-delivering pattern of expectation.
Paul cuts into this mindset in a straightforward-don’t-overlook-this way, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, admirable, excellent, worthy of praise…then the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Peace is worry-free, childlike trust in the nature of God and perfection of Christ to keep you abiding in Him. (John 15)
The Holy Spirit is the antidote to the Christmas crash. He is ready to remind us of truth, and this God-truth is the peace that we urgently need this season.
Just a few lines earlier in his letter, Paul says “Stay true to the Lord, don’t waiver. Stay on track and steady in God. Don’t worry about anything.” (Phil. 4)
So, fix your thoughts. Fasten your hope. Attach your belief to Christ.
Tightly shut the lid to worry and the frantic pursuit of getting what you want out of this season.
…and the peace of God will be with you – present, tangible, not just a concept that could be. But is.