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The most wonderful time of year comes around and leaves many people longing for a white Christmas feeling – that Bing Crosby fill-your-heart-with-happiness kind of joy.

I grew up in Indiana, so we had our fair share of white Christmases. They’re pretty awesome. Nothing sets the mood for Christmas quite like giant flakes falling from the sky. However, sometimes the white-Christmas-feeling people are longing for has nothing to do with snow. Rather, it comes from the belief that if we could just get what we want, we would be content.

If we have the perfect gift, we’ll be satisfied.

If our family drama settles, we’ll have peace.

If we get a raise, we’ll have stability. 

If we find that special someone, we’ll be happy. 

But sometimes we can’t afford the perfect gift. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, there is unresolved conflict. Sometimes the paycheck barely covers the bills. Sometimes the relationship never comes … or at least not in our timing. 

If we’re honest, sometimes our dreams of a white Christmas settle into the realities of a blue one. We’re discouraged, overwhelmed, defeated, and discontent. 

Here’s a Secret

There’s a secret to unlocking contentment, even if our situations don’t change. The apostle Paul shares his own story to prove it: 

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:11-13).

When you’re struggling, it can be even more defeating for someone to tell you “it’s going to be okay.” Sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way. 

Secrets are things that are not easily discovered. If something were obvious, everyone would know it. But Paul says that he’s tapped into the secret; in fact, he has learned it. He didn’t always know it, but he has searched for it and found it. 

The secret to contentment is resting in the strength of Jesus. With his strength, I can do all things…

I can face a Christmas without the perfect gifts.

I can enter the unresolved conflict of a relationship.

I can make it through financial struggle.

I can battle loneliness. 

It’s Not About Your Strength

Here’s the only way any of those things are possible. Jesus gives us strength. It’s not about mustering up enough willpower to be happy or content or satisfied. It’s about facing each day with a new declaration that God’s power is greater than the challenges we face. 

A promise our family has held on to is Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” God is strong and can handle everything we face. There are days when we feel like we can’t face it. It’s in those moments that we remind ourselves of the secret Paul learned: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Reorient Your Heart 

God places desires in our hearts. It’s normal. The question  is, what do we do when those desires are unmet? Here are two simple steps our family takes when the Blue Christmas soundtrack is blaring louder than Bing Crosby …

  1. Honestly express hurt. I’m the kind of guy that always sees the good in everything. The problem with this, though, is that it can be difficult to be honest about hurt. Sometimes things are hard, and I just need to honestly express to God that I’m struggling. He’s big enough to handle it. 
  2. Regularly express praise. The best antidote to a discontent heart is remembering all of the good that God has done. God has been faithful in the past and will be faithful in the present. When I get overwhelmed, I try to center myself in the goodness of God. I remind myself of all the challenges God has brought me through before. This gives me confidence to believe He’ll do it again.

I don’t know what songs will make their way onto your playlist this Christmas, but I do know that no matter the song or the season, God is going to meet you with all the strength you need. 


Looking for a place to celebrate Advent? We’d love to meet you! Join us for a 4-week Advent series at Grace, called Comfort and Joy: Good Tidings for Hard Times. 

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