The time of the year is upon us when we think of the birth of Christ, nativity scenes, Christmas trees, lights, gifts, Advent calendars, laughing children, family get-togethers, and Christmas Eve services at church. I wish I could write “Merry Christmas” and end this newsletter now, maybe give you several pictures of a small cottage nestled in a winter wonderland, a fire visible through the window.
We typically see spiritual warfare increase in December and January, especially against marriages. The enemy uses unrealistic expectations (“You should be happy… the image of the perfect family… smile!”) as a setup for discouragement, anger, and depression, rubs salt in old wounds, (particularly those from a family of origin), inflames the sense of loneliness, and attempts to cause stress and a sense of hopelessness anyway he can. According to the CDC, January is one of the peak months of the year for suicide, after the letdown of the holidays hits.
Tis also the season when porn use rises. December 27 is reportedly the day of the year when porn use is at its highest; November 26 takes 2nd place. We usually see requests for help from porn and sex addiction increase in December and January.
Immediately before and right after Jesus’ birth, Herod plotted to kill Jesus. When that failed, Herod murdered boys 2 years of age and under. The Bible provides a memorial of those mothers who lost their infant sons in Jeremiah 31:15:
“Thus says the Lord:
‘A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.’”
I share all of this because you won’t hear it in many churches, which can increase the sense of isolation and loneliness (“I must be a freak… look at all those smiling faces”), to offer you a lifeline if you’re going through a rough time (you’re not alone and we’re here for you), to encourage you to keep your guard up, stay strong in prayer, continue to walk close to the Lord, and refuse to say yes to every invitation or event that comes your way. Take plenty of time to rest and reflect. Do not isolate.
Like it or not, we are a church at war; Satan doesn’t take a break during the holidays. This is also a good time to continue to make your life count for eternity and allow God to bless others through you. Often, all it takes is a listening ear and some of your time.
And, it’s a perfect time to hold one of our From Porn to Grace conferences and offer help to those who are hurting. Sunday, December 3, I will be leading a From Porn to Grace conference at Clovis SDA Church in Central California, near Fresno. The church’s address is 2370 Helm Ave, Clovis, CA 93612. I hope to see you there.
We’re also looking at conferences and events in January in the UK and Europe. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss setting one up.