The Spirit: Holiday or Holy?

Every house hold is different.  Every tradition has minor variances.  But in North America Easter is often associated with an over grown rabbit that has yet to be apprehended for breaking and entering homes and leaving behind copious amounts of chocolate and sweet treats.  As a child my parents would litter the hallway between our bedroom doors with chocolate eggs, and beside our door would always be a hollow chocolate bunny. In my case it was usually a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle made out of chocolate.  Some houses do easter egg hunts, while others have completely different traditions all together.  The child like wonder and joy that encompasses these traditions is often referred to as ‘Holiday Spirit’.

But what about those ‘Scrooge’ or ‘Grinch’ moments? This year, Good Friday came in March which seemed quite early.  I will admit, life had me quite busy these past few weeks and the holiday just crept up on our household.  Did I give my very pregnant wife some chocolate? Absolutely! But in all this time preparing for things combined with a very busy schedule, that ‘Holiday Spirit’ feeling didn’t take root this year.

Maybe you can relate, (or if you are my Mother-in-Law, you seem to live in a constant state of Christmas/ Holiday Spirit). But I wonder, how many of you have let life get in the way and creep up on you while in Church?  Have you ever been in a place mentally that made it so difficult to really engage in a message or scripture reading?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Life is complex and when you add emotions into the mix, it can be as troublesome as Chinese algebra.  I’ll admit I find myself concerned about external factors in life far too often.  I’ve been to church and it was an absolute chore.  While I was physically present in Church, I was mentally still at home in my pyjamas stewing over whatever was going on.

So what’s the remedy here? Ah, you guessed it that verse a few lines up has something to do with it.  When we think about such things it can begin to shift our mood.  I think the following quote says it perfectly.

“Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God” – Mark Batterson

Sing! Yes, when you find yourself at church and having a hard time participating in the worship, thats when you need to put on your big boy pants and let that big boy voice sing to the fullest.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3

Now before you start rebuking the idea that a song can change your mood, I’d like to point out you would be arguing against science and doctors on this one.  Psychology Today published an article on the effect of music and its relation to shopping.  This might explain why Christmas music starts 55 days before Christmas.  Studies show that consumers purchase significantly more products with Christmas music being played than with nothing at all.

Next time you find yourself caught in a moment you can’t get out of, sing God’s praises.  The race is won, the battle has been fought, Jesus Christ came before you were even born to rescue you.  Not only did Jesus die on the cross, rose again 3 days later as a sacrifice for us, He left behind his Holy Spirit.  One that does not rely on traditions or a calendar year to present itself.  The Holy Spirit is more than just a good feeling, it should be your best friend and the first thing you turn to when life gets overwhelming.

Just remember, the Holiday Spirit melts like a chocolate bunny when the waters of life start to boil.  The Holy Spirit sits in the waters with you protecting you like the shell of an egg, it won’t melt but it can help keep your life together as you go through a transition and together you will come out stronger.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Donald Porter

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