top of page

Doing Christmas A Little Different

One of my favorite Christmas traditions over the past few years has been decorating the outside of our house. After many years of being the only house on our block that wasn’t decorated, we thought, “This is crazy! We’re the Christians, and it looks like we’re not celebrating!” So, we started small and put a few decorations in the front yard.

When we found some inflatables for a ridiculously low clearance price the following year, our yard looked a lot better. At the end of that year, Lowe’s put “net lights” on an AMAZING after-Christmas sale and went from the only dark house of Christmas Eve to the brightest house on the block. And I loved it!!! I particularly love watching cars drive by and slow down to look at the lights. I imagine a child in the car saying, “Mommy, Daddy, look at that!” just like I did when I was a little girl.

However, this year, our yard will look different.

Why the change? Well, because the shrubs in front of our house were ginormous, overgrown, and starting to die, we removed the old shrubs and replaced them with tiny new plants. While it was, long-term, the best thing for our house and it has relieved a lot of stress and worry on my part, the one thing point that kept coming up as we were deciding whether or not to make the change was, “But what about our Christmas lights?”

When late October rolled around and it was 70 degrees, my first thought was, “What a great day to hang the lights.” Only there were no shrubs to put the lights on. The little plants can’t be decorated. Our holiday tradition has to change.

As I thought about it, I was reminded of a holiday truth: sometimes, when the Holy Spirit makes changes in your heart, causes you to grow, or removes something from your life during the year, it requires that your holidays change.

When the holidays roll around, and we become nostalgic and long for the way things always were, it’s tempting to wish we hadn’t made the changes.

But that’s when we need to “STOP!!” Like a car coming to a screeching halt, we must slam on the brakes and say, “No, I’m not going there.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 calls it “Taking our thoughts captive,” which means capturing any thoughts that go against God’s will and ways and saying, “No, we’re not going to continue this line of thinking.” Then, you force your thoughts to align themselves with God’s truth.

How does this apply to the holiday season?

Well, over the last year, the Holy Spirit has been healing your heart from toxic relationships and helping you establish healthy boundaries with friends or family. You’re on the right track when the holidays roll around and you feel pressured to return to how things have always been. Maybe you feel guilty because “They’re family. How can you be so cruel?” Sometimes nostalgia creeps into our thoughts, and we only remember the good times, not how you cried yourself to sleep because of how they treated you last Christmas.

In these moments, we can’t allow our feelings or traditions or guilt or even pressure from others to give up the growth or progress the Holy Spirit has made in our hearts. We don’t have to do things just because it’s how we’ve always done them. In fact, if the Holy Spirit has told you to make changes in your life, we shouldn’t do things the way we’ve always done them.

That’s another common holiday scenario: Throughout the year, the Holy Spirit may have convicted you of a sin or addiction. You’ve worked hard to get to the root of the problem, repent of your sin, and made great strides to overcome it. Then, the holidays come around, and there’s so much temptation and pressure from your peers.

“What’s the big deal?”

“Everyone else does it!”

“It’s how our family celebrates—you don’t want to be the wet blanket at the party.”

Suddenly, the temptation is very real to fall back into old patterns.

Again, don’t do it!!!

Remember, you made those changes in your life for a reason. You chose to let the Holy Spirit work in your heart. You wanted to walk in freedom! Don’t go backward just because it’s Christmas!!

“But, Adessa, you don’t understand.”

Oh yes, I do.

You see, the plants in my front yard aren’t the only things that have changed in my life this year. Over the past nine months, the Holy Spirit has been working on my heart, tearing out feelings of guilt and fear and false teachings that I learned from people I loved who also loved Jesus, but they were still wrong. The changes God has made in my heart have been tremendous.

And yet, they required that I make changes in my life.

In some areas, I’ve had to set up boundaries. In other areas, I’ve taken steps of faith.

Yet, the temptation is always there to just give up and say, “Why work so hard to maintain the ground I’ve gained? Why not just go along and do what makes everyone happy? It’s a lot easier.”

I was raised to care what people think and not cause trouble. Breaking that stronghold in my mind has been challenging. The pull is always there to go backward.

Here are some things that are helping me avoid that temptation.

1. I remind myself why I made the changes in the first place.

There’s something about Christmas that paints our memories through rose-colored lenses. We remember everything warm and cozy and forget anything bad. It’s almost intoxicating.

We often need to wake ourselves out of the holiday haze and remember, “I made these changes for a reason. I established these boundaries because they were necessary.”

Just as I have to remind myself that my plants were dying and needed to be replaced, sometimes we have to sober ourselves up and remember the reason we made changes in our lives.

2. We need to see through spiritual eyes.

So, no one likes to think about spiritual warfare at Christmas. It’s not the theme of any Christmas movie. Still, the enemy of our souls doesn’t celebrate Christmas. He isn’t taking December off. He’s still busy “prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Just because it’s Christmas, his goal is the same: to get you to turn away from everything the Holy Spirit is doing in your life and go back to old, sinful patterns.

So, what do you do?

1 Peter 5:8-9 has the answer:

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.”

Even during the holiday season, we must be alert, aware of the enemy’s scenes, and stand strong and firm in our resolve that we are not going backward. No matter how much nostalgia, peer pressure, or guilt is thrown at us—we’re not going back to our old ways.

3. Don’t feel guilty.

Just in case you need a reminder (or a pep talk):

-There is nothing wrong with doing what is best for you and your family.

-There’s nothing wrong with establishing healthy boundaries on your time, finances, or relationships.

-You don’t have to do something just because you’ve always done it that way.

-You are obligated to follow Jesus—not tradition, peer pressure, or guilt.

One of the best gifts you can give yourself this Christmas is to release yourself from all outside pressure and guilt.

Pray about your holiday plans and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Never feel guilty about following God’s plans for your life.

4. We need to blaze a new path.

The thing is, there’s just no way that I can put Christmas lights on my tiny little plants this year. They need time to establish roots and grow. So, this year, I have to protect them and not decorate them with lights.

However, I know myself. If my house is dark in December, it will make me really sad. I’ll spend far too much time regretting the changes I’ve made. This means the best road forward for me is to find other ways to decorate our house. It will still be festive even if it doesn’t look like it did the last few years.

Here’s my best advice to anyone who has made life changes that will affect your holidays this year: Don’t mourn the old; celebrate the new!

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Don’t waste this season wallowing over lost traditions. Instead, create new ones. Who knows, you might even find that you like the new ways even better!

5. Remember, Christmas is a season.

Just like Spring, Summer, and Fall, Christmas is a season. It will come, and it will go. Next year, it will be back again.

Don’t sacrifice all of the ground you’ve gained, all of the work you’ve put into changing, and all of the progress you’ve made over the past year (or years) for a season that will only last a few weeks.

I love Christmas, but it will pass. In the New Year, I want to move on to whatever God has next for me. That’s why I don’t want to fall back into old ways I’ve already overcome.

And I want the same for you. I want you to keep growing in Christ, moving forward, and becoming all God wants you to be. That’s why I encourage you—don’t let a season cause you to lose what God’s done in your heart.

Instead, be aware of the temptation, stand firm, and keep moving forward with Jesus. Embrace the new and have a wonderful Christmas season.

Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.

When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."

Read More....

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

bottom of page