Every year before the holidays, I find myself fighting off what I call Christmas crankiness. With the craze to find the perfect presents, mixed with a jam-packed schedule, anxiety increases and I get lost in the rush and lose sight of the joy and purpose of the season. But what I’ve realized is that the Christmas cranks is not just a result of the busyness, it’s a direct effect of the evil one’s plot to draw my attention away from Jesus.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Jesus defeated the evil one when He died on the cross and rose again. He broke the power of sin and death, and He has the ultimate victory over all forces of evil. But the unfortunate reality of this world we live in, is that the evil one is very much at work. Until Jesus comes again, the devil continues to claw for power. He doesn’t want us to claim Christ's victory; he wants us to convince us that he is in control.
As followers of Christ, we know that Christmas is much more than the shopping, the tree, the decorations, and the get-togethers. It’s about celebrating and reflecting on the awe-filled night when an angel of the Lord appeared and said, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior will be born to you. He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10) And you know who doesn’t like that? The evil one. He hates it. The very last thing he wants us to do is to focus on Jesus and put him in his place. So, this time of year, I think he tries extra hard to make us forget who we are and whose we are.
Well, I’m putting my foot down. I refuse to take the bait.
When my anxiety starts to amplify, instead of crumbling, I’ve started visualizing the armor of God that Paul teaches us about in Ephesians 6. I envision the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, and I claim the power of God as I “put on” each piece. And friends, it works. Putting on my armor, the ick dissipates because as Verse 6 says, “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Through Christ, we have an extremely powerful tool, one that is capable of extinguishing all flaming arrows and it’s time that we get on the offense and use it!
If you’re like me, and you tend to struggle a bit around the holiday season, don’t take the bait. You are not alone. And you are not empty-handed. “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:11) As the army of the Lord, we must put the evil one in his place. Together, let’s wave Christ’s victory flag and rub the evil one’s face in the magnificence of Christmas.