|by Henry T. Blackaby
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We tend to “set a time” for many things. We’ve just been through Halloween in October and Thanksgiving in November. Now we’re poised for Christmas in December and then New Year’s Day in January.
February will bring Valentine’s Day and April, Easter. We’ll celebrate Mother’s Day in early May, followed by Memorial Day weekend later that month. In June it’s Father’s Day. You get the picture -– “[T]o everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
For the commercial side of our society it means sales and profits. But too often for widows, orphans and those who live in broken homes these “special days and seasons” bring pain, sadness and even anger. Some may feel they have been robbed or violated. And many of us who might claim to have “normal” experiences of these events will, nevertheless, experience awkward moments with family members, friends or co-workers. So, what can we do to experience these special events “successfully?”
First, we need to be prepared. These events do not sneak up on us — they come every year. Therefore, we can deliberately choose to face these times with God’s help. We can choose to prepare our minds and hearts for the season upon us.
Second, we can choose to experience the season intentionally with courage and control. We needn’t be afraid; God is always with us! (Joshua 1:9)
Third, we should process these special times and discern what God desires for us to learn. This helps us to mature mentally and spiritually.
Most importantly, we should look outside ourselves. God calls us to be alert to the needs of others around us. Take time for those who have lost loved ones. And for those that are weak and weary, help them to discover the strength that only God can provide. Help them through these times with true friendship and prayer. Choose to become personally involved with people, young and old alike. Invite them to your home and into your life.
As a family, you might want to choose to visit those places where people may suffer most –- hospitals, homeless shelters, rest homes. Individually, you may think of those in your immediate circles who need a special touch from God this season. It may be a neighbor, someone at school or someone at work.
Go out of your way this season to show God’s love to others. Then, continue to do so throughout the year. Follow up with further contact and interest. Take the time for coffee or lunch. Send a letter or call just to give a word of encouragement. Care for others throughout the year.
It is true in many ways that our society lives through special events and seasons. Let it be found in each of us that we live each one with unconditional love, prayer and true friendship! And to each of you, may you and your loved ones truly experience the fullness of God’s great salvation and love this season!