We are thrilled to have Cheryl Scruggs back on the Redeemed Girl blog as she shares “A Recipe For Joy” this holiday season!

Lights. Camera. Action. That is often what we are feeling with Thanksgiving and Christmas on our heels, isn’t it? No matter what this past year has entailed for you, it’s that “time of year again.”

And it’s coming fast! Hard to believe, huh? Wasn’t it just a few days ago we were putting our decorations up, planning our meals and arranging family formalities? That was last year.

The older I get, the more quickly this time of year comes around! Not too sure about you, but for most of us, we feel lots of forces pressing on us, if not many kinds of emotional, physical or mental tensions.

Family dynamics. The perfectly chosen gifts. Close and distant relationships. The beautiful tree. Classic decorations. Stunning tables. Scrumptious meals. Marriage strains. To-do-lists.

That is a ton, and this more than common list has the potential to do us all in if we don’t get a handle on it! May I, pretty please, crawl into a hole and hide somewhere this year?

That said, and not knowing what your pressures and stresses are this year, can we lay aside our detailed expectations and personal experiences (good or bad), and take a deeper look at what the ultimate holidays can truly be?

I learned a huge lesson 15 years ago that I will NEVER forget. My husband, Jeff, and I had recently reconciled our marriage after seven painful years of divorce. God was giving us a second chance at doing it His way! It was Thanksgiving Day, and I was up at 4 am getting the turkey ready for the oven. I could already smell the smells of the day. I already had music playing in my ears, and I loved the stillness of the early morning and the quiet early hours. Our girls, 12 years old at the time, walked into the kitchen with sleepy eyes and wrapped their arms around me. I was overwhelmed, being reminded that our family was back together again.

Three hours later, as I “slaved” away in the kitchen doing “everything”, I felt myself getting annoyed with them all as they playfully ran around the house laughing, dancing and having fun! Why wasn’t anyone helping me, I thought to myself?

Finally at 11 am, one of the girls walked into the kitchen and sensed something was wrong. (Hard to hide my emotions)! She innocently said, “Mom do you ever have any fun on the holidays?” A light bulb went off inside of me. It was an ah-ha moment that God was using to show me that I had the wrong focus. I was missing the point. I thought I was “having to do “ everything to make the day special for everyone, and was left feeling frustrated and discouraged. My emotions reeled in me. Why did I have such a yucky attitude? Why was I so excited about the holidays but was acting as though I felt left out and angry?

I realized I was missing the point. I was missing the Joy! I was missing the Love. I had been so consumed with the tasks and details that I forgot about the true meaning of the holidays – that of enjoying and building relationships. It did not matter if everything was perfect and that I wasn’t perfect or that others were perfect.

That Thanksgiving changed my life forever.

Come on, will you, on a journey with me this year? May I ask….can we check our hearts before we walk into this season of hustle and bustle? How about we work at getting “me” in order before we start the busyness of everything and everyone?

Often we think the holidays are us serving others, when if we are honest, it’s a lot about ourselves……we make it about “me.” If we can put this notion on the back burner examine it from a different point of view, we have an excellent chance of skipping through the holidays unscathed, joyful and peaceful! Most of the time, it is us putting the pressure and expectations on ourselves.

How about this year, we truly feel the Joy and Peace of the season that we often talk about with others, but deep down don’t live out?

Let’s put ourselves in Jesus’ place.

How do you think He would handle the holidays?

What would be His focus?

Jesus was so unselfish that it was never about Him. His main goal in life was to Love! Can we make this the overarching theme for this year’s holidays? We all have our unique circumstances we will be dealing with this year.

In the midst of all of this, I want to challenge you to rise above it all and relax…..

Here are some keywords and phrases to meditate on as we approach this beautiful time of year:

Belly laugh

Accept others for who they are

Have fun

Make your house a home; make it a warm and cozy place to be; make it restful with music, good food, and a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere

Purposefully share; yourself and your life.

Remember, your countenance rubs off on others.

-Cheryl Scruggs

Hope for Marriages


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