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You see the social media posts. You hear the cliche sayings. The holiday season comes around and everywhere you look, everyone’s life seems ever so “merry and bright.” Sometimes it’s discouraging when everyone else’s life appears to be perfect. When they’ve got their special someone. When they have that perfect job. When they have the cutest children. A perfect family. When it feels like all the world is celebrating, but you feel alone with worries and disappointments that are buried beneath the cheer of the season.

During the holidays it can feel like the joy of the season is surrounding you with bright lights and cheerful tunes, but inside your heart it feels empty and bleak. There are days when I look at my life and grow discouraged with where I am because it seems like every area in my life is somehow messed up. Nothing is certain. Nothing makes sense.

Maybe as you embark the holiday season your heart grows a little empty, feeling like something seems to be missing. If only the answers to your worries and problems could be found in a nicely wrapped gift under the Christmas tree.

Even though it sounds incredible to have every dream, wish and desire magically fulfilled on Christmas, I know deep in my heart that I would rather live a life that is used to serve and glorify God. If every desire was given to me in the timing I desired, I wouldn’t know what it means to thirst for God’s presence and rely on Him for strength in times of deep heartache. I revel in those darkest of moments when my heart has the ability to cry out to God and know He’s by my side, feeling every blow as I learn to grow and trust His plan. Don’t get me wrong, difficulties aren’t enjoyable by any means, but I know with all my heart that they will one day be ever so rewarding.

You may experience days filled with tragedy, struggle, pain and trials, but when you are able to use your struggles and pain to deepen your relationship with God, you can’t find a more meaningful purpose to live for. There’s no greater gift. No moment with God is wasted. No spiritual growth is meaningless. Every bad day that brought you one step closer to understanding God’s character is a day well spent. Each moment that leaves you with unchanging circumstances and a heart crying out to God allows you to spend intimate time with Him that will never be lost.

This year as Christmas comes around, I want to look past the commercialism of the season and focus on the true Gift that was given so many years ago. No present under the Christmas tree may fix my struggles, but I have hope because of the gift God has given me. The gift of eternal life. My life may look insignificant and menial in comparison to those of this world, but I want to look to Jesus. He came to the world in a humble form and wasn’t viewed as a king, but was rather forsaken, rejected and ridiculed. He had no lofty rank in society. No relationship status. No awards or medals to His name. He came into the world to live a life displaying His Father’s glory and pay our ransom, not seeking earthly fame or fortune.

Romans 8:18

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

When you begin to look at your life and your circumstances look bleak in comparison to those around you, remember as a Christian you have a gift that will never fade away. You have an eternal status that will never change. You are a child of God, chosen and loved by the Creator of the world. Your life has purpose. With every circumstance that seems broken and messed up, God’s got it all in His hand. With every tear and heartbreak that crushed you, God sees and holds every tear. In every night that you remain in the relentless season of waiting, He walks beside you, guiding you each step of the way. With every deep cry and aching prayer, God cherishes those intimate moments of a heart desiring to seek after Him.

You may view your circumstances as bleak and barren, but God sees a brighter picture with a vast perspective. You may perceive other’s “merry and bright” lives as something you’d give anything to attain, but God is using your seemingly bleak life for greater worth than you could ever imagine. If only you could catch a glimmer of what God is orchestrating and see just how bright your future truly is.

As you experience the holidays this year, don’t become disheartened by all that is missing or messed up in your life. Take a few minutes and focus on the blessings God has given you instead of letting Satan get you discouraged with all that seems wrong. Maybe jot down areas that you are thankful for and blessings God has given you. You may be surprised with how many you can come up with!

Jesus came into the world and lived a life that was seemingly unimportant, but He changed the world forever, offering His free gift of eternal life to anyone willing to accept it. The same God is working in your life too. Your life may appear dim and dismal, but one day it will all be brought to light. Choose to experience Christmas this year remembering that as a child of God your future is bright, no matter what you face here. You may not see it yet, but it is coming!

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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