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Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

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The holidays are an exciting time full of parties, warm family traditions and time spent with friends.

As much as we look forward to this time of the year it can be a time full of stress, worries, and anxieties. Trying to juggle family and extended family, traveling, managing the finances and shopping, traffic, Christmas parties, and more can add strain to our already busy lives.

The month of December can be so full, our anxieties can get the best of us and it affects our relationship with God and those close to us. How do we stay close to God and others doing the Holidays?

In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me, your comforts cheer and delight my soul.

Psalm 94:19 (Amp)

The holidays are a fun and encouraging time, but they are stressful in that they add more busy thoughts to our already crowded minds. In the midst of our holiday induced worry, we need help learning how to stop worrying and start trusting God.

How can we stay close to God and others during the holidays?

“….Make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God, the God who delivered you…”

Deuteronomy 8:11-16 (Message)

Make a decision to not miss a quiet time during the holidays. Pair up with a friend and talk about what you are learning, decisions you are making, as well as being open about your struggles and emotions.

The holidays are a perfect time to pull others into your family and make relationships a priority. Having conversations, shopping and cooking together, looking at Christmas lights are all a way to grow close through the holidays.

We can stay close to God by turning our anxieties into opportunities.

1. An opportunity to pray

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces the worry at the center of your life.

Philippians 4:6-7 (message)

2. An opportunity to think of others

The holidays can be a lonely time for some, and for those who do not know God it is an opportunity to be aware of their needs.

But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus-the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.

Acts 20:24

Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others too, and what they are doing.

Philippians 2:3 (NLT)

Use this holiday season as a time to search out people in need, and look for creative ways to love and encourage them. Doing so will take our focus off of our own worries as we focus instead on those who are less fortunate than us, increasing our gratitude.

3. An opportunity to be open

It is a known fact that talking about the things that weigh us down and burden us actually ease our anxiety and help us have perspective. Being open helps us be close in our relationships.

But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin.

1 John 1:7 (God’s Word)

During the holidays, don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself or remaining detached. Make an effort to build great relationships with family and friends by sharing your heart and having great conversations.

Additional thoughts

Here are a few more scriptures you can reflect on to prepare to have a great holiday season this year.

We are merely moving shadows and all our rushing ends in nothing…and so Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.

Psalm 39:6

If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.

Psalm 94:19 (Message)

So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.

Galatians 6:9

Written by

Stone Eleazer

Stone Eleazer is the director of operations at the Bay Area Christian Church, and is an editor for BACC Inspire.