• Jennifer Alvarado

'Tis the Season


Our Christmas tree has one single ornament hanging on it. Actually it’s the same ornament that was missed and got packed away with the tree last year. The tree has been up since Thanksgiving night. The boxes of ornaments are sitting in the spare room and yet here stands our tree with one ornament.


I could use the excuse that we’ve been busy, because well we have been busy. I could say that I still haven’t figured out how I want to decorate it, because again, I haven’t. But ultimately, the reason is simply I’m not feeling it.


This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and yes I think there is still wonder and beauty in it, but I’m simply not feeling it. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’ve grown weary. And truthfully, I have felt very guilty about it.


Maybe you too have been in a season where for whatever reason, you just aren’t feeling it. Maybe you are wrapping up a year of disappointment after disappointment and part of you wants to go to sleep for the next two weeks and start fresh in 2020. My point of saying all this is not for a sympathy vote or a pity party. My point is that it’s okay to not be okay and to be honest about it.


Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


We would get a lot farther in healing and growing if we all started being honest about our battles. What if we made a commitment to God and each other to simply be real? That’s where true life change happens. But we’ve become a society where “fake it till you make it” is even preached on Sunday morning.


The definition of the word “fake” means “counterfeit” or “not genuine.” When you invest your time into pretending to be someone you’re not or pretending to feel something you don’t feel, you’re wasting valuable mental, emotional and even spiritual space that could be used for making authentic, genuine connections. Essentially, you begin relying on your own confidence and self-esteem to sustain you, rather than your identity in Christ.


The intended meaning of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” isn’t usually in regard to someone lying, but instead it’s an attempt to force something by our own strengths and efforts. And when done in our own power, our efforts will fail every time. No one is perfect. We are all flawed. We are all broken. Yet we try to appear perfect because it goes against our fleshly nature to admit our weakness.


2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”


Our true strength is found when we recognize there is only one strong God and we fully begin giving Him the glory.

We live in a world, however, that applauds self-sufficiency and celebrates fake. From cropped, filtered, airbrushed images on Instagram to empty praise and brown-nosing in the hopes it will get us noticed, liked or promoted, we are lost in a sea of fake. We "fake it" even at the cost of us eventually self-imploding. So why would we, if we are truly believers in Christ, help to continue this charade? Why not instead stand up and shine the true, authentic, genuine love of Christ on those around us, and even onto our problems?


As 2019 wraps up in a couple weeks, I’ll be the first to say I’m glad to see it go. It’s been a difficult year, but just like that one single ornament still hanging on our Christmas tree, I’m still here and I’m thankful that God loves me even when I’m simply not feeling it. God is good even when the season is not. 🌲


Isaiah 40:30-31 says, “Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

God, help us to be genuine. Help us to live beyond our own selfish ambitions and desires. Help us to let go of the pictures we are holding onto of "our" plan and instead focus on the plan You have for us. Help us not get so caught up in trying to maintain the appearance of having it all together that we completely destroy our ability to connect with others in the process. Help us to remember our greatest hope can be born out of our greatest disappointment. Amen.

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