Isn't this the season that we are supposed to be jolly? Happy? Joyful? Isn't this the time of the year when we get to eat 'til we explode, shop 'til we drop, trade stupid gifts, watch tons of football and old movies…"every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings"?  Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays but sometimes I would love to just skip over them. Skip the long times, the stress of cleaning my house from top to bottom, decorating, cooking, spending way too much money, stomachaches and arguments.

Recently, I was sharing with some friends about how crazy the holidays get with my family. The house gets destroyed, luggage and iPods are everywhere, leftovers for miles, trashcan overflowing, shopping madness, and more. I guess I sounded more like I was venting vs. sharing when one of my friends quickly spoke up and said, "Kris, I would trade just one day of your chaotic holiday season for one day of mine because I have nothing. All my family has passed. I have no one to spend the holidays with. You are blessed and you don't know it." Wow, was she ever right. I was so focused on getting through this season that I forgot the value of it. I forgot that God has us all in seasons for his purpose.

Now, I know for some it's a very tough time of year filled with sadness and loneliness. From not having your kids this year, to a failed marriage/relationship, to remembering a passed love one, to being broke, to not feeling well. But even in these times, these situations, God does want us to be jolly. So how can you be jolly when you are stressed, hurt, or broken? You can be jolly by being thankful.

1. All seasons come from God.

"Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years" (Genesis 1:14 NKJV)

2. God uses the seasons of life (circumstances, health, finance, and even singleness) for his purpose.

"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth" (Exodus 9:16 NKJV).

3. God uses these seasons to change, grow, prune and transform us.

"Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
'Til He comes and rains righteousness on you"
(Hosea 10:12 NKJV).

4. We don't always see what God is doing through these seasons; we often become impatient and angry. We are tempted to quit, pleading with God to take it away or we will run away.

"And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding" (Daniel 2:21 NKJV).

5. Even when we are angry, even when we don’t understand the season we are in, God says we are to be thankful. Out of thankfulness God will give us the ability to be joyful because we will see our situation through his eyes, his perspective.

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve
the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know
that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we
ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into
His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations"
(Psalm 100 NKJV).