I so love the holidays! I’m so grateful that my friend Tracy Steel not only creates beautiful home environments but also has a beautiful heart. ￼May you experience the patterns of God not only during this holiday season but throughout the exciting new year of 2020 ahead.
The holidays are full of parties, Hallmark Channel movies, and lots of wonderful food. Half-burnt candles, garland, and ornaments adorn our wooden mantles and Christmas tree branches. Despite the tinsel and the carols, many of us feel sad or anxious during the holiday seasons for a myriad of reasons.
Do a Google search for helpful tips on how to deal with the pain and stress of the Christmas season and you will find countless articles containing a plethora of ideas on how we can do so. Tips like getting enough sleep and exercise, losing expectations, and letting go of traditions are helpful to an extent. I’ve also talked to several women who turn to shopping, overeating, or binge-watching TV in an effort to cope with the stress of the holiday season. They admit to feeling more anxious, depressed, or share they have trouble sleeping during this time of year even after doing these things. I can relate!
But what has helped decrease my anxiety or ease my grief is to shift my perspective from my circumstances back onto Christ. I encourage you then, to wrap your heart in some figurative plaid this year as you unwrap the frozen ham you need to prep for Christmas Eve dinner. While we can overspend, overeat, or overreact, we can never over-tell ourselves the truths of God.
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This is what Mary, the mother of Jesus did. Mary was a lover of patterns. She learned them and leaned on them, helping her to trust the One who took her life in a direction she didn’t expect or plan for.
Did you know the physical pattern of plaid that is popular during Christmas was first used on the clothes of various clans in Scotland? The diversity of the colors and patterns of the plaid differentiated various Scottish clans from one another. It helped the clansmen to identify which clan someone was from and if they were friendly or not.
“For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.”
~ Mary, in Luke 1:49 NLT
Centuries before this the heart of Mary was wrapped in some figurative plaid as she gave birth to Jesus in the manger. I believe this to be true because Mary correctly identified who her God was in the midst of her shock and surprise. She knew the patterns in the Scriptures that say God is holy (Luke 1:49), merciful (Luke 1:50), powerful (Luke 1:51), just/fair (Luke 1:52), her provider (Luke 1: 53), and that God is faithful/trustworthy (Luke 1:54-55).
Keeping her perspective on the patterns of God reminded Mary of who he was and gave her the confidence to move forward in faith as the baby inside of her grew. Just like plaid gave the Scottish clans perspective and helped them to identify who was friendly, the patterns of God helped Mary to know God was on her side. If he asked her to be the mother of her Savior, then he would help her do so for he is mighty, able, merciful and her provider.
In the same way, I believe God longs for us to wrap our hearts up in some plaid this Christmas too. Take a few minutes and think about your perspective on life, yourself, and on God. What thought patterns are playing over and over in your mind? Take a minute to identify if these patterns align with the truths of God’s word. Your answer will affect your Christmas!
When we adorn the space of our hearts with a pattern of God, we are able to identify who he is, who we are in him, and how we can survive the family drama or grief that is present during Christmas and beyond. Just like Mary, who chose to find her courage and peace in her God during that first Christmas, we can do the same. For Immanuel has come! Our God is for us and wants to be with us. He is mighty, able, merciful, and will provide for us no matter the strain or stress we feel.
I pray that whenever you see the pattern of plaid that is so prevalent at Christmas that you’d remember the patterns of God. Do a Google search of Bible verses that will help change your perspective on who God is or that can help you with the grief, worry, or anxiety you are experiencing. May you over-tell yourself these truths as often as needed if you are heading into Christmas and life isn’t going according to how you planned for it to go because I am going to do the same.
Have a Merry and truly peaceful Christmas, fellow plaid wearers!
For more on the patterns of God and how to experience peace and comfort whenever your life doesn’t go as planned, check out Tracy’s new book, A Redesigned Life, available wherever books are sold.
Tracy Steel graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in interior design in 1998 and has a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies from Phoenix Seminary. As a project designer, Tracy created and coordinated the design and space planning of commercial spaces for clients such as Bank One, Wells Fargo, Express Scripts, DHS, and Lockheed Martin. Moving from one type of interior design to another, Tracy then worked in full-time youth ministry, serving as the director of female students at Scottsdale Bible Church. God’s true design for Tracy now involves improving the interior space of the hearts and minds of women around her. Currently stationed in Washington, DC, this military wife and mother of two enjoys linking up with other bloggers, leading Bible studies at her local church, and speaking at various moms’ groups and women’s ministries events nationwide. To connect with Tracy, visit her online home at www.tracymsteel.com or follow her on Instagram/Twitter @tracymsteel.com.