I’ve always loved the Advent season. There is something uniquely special about preparing my heart and mind to celebrate the joy of Jesus’ birth and all that His life represents. This season can be exciting. It can even be enchanting. But one thing I’ve found over the years is that for most, myself included, this season is far from easy.
Most of us can attest that Advent and Christmas can come and go like a blur. It’s so easy to slip into “holiday mode,” where everything speeds up and we find ourselves busy, stressed, and spiraling in overwhelming feelings and emotions. For some, this time of year can mark a season of loss, a sharp reminder of what once was and is no more. It can be a time of feeling ashamed, lonely, overlooked, or even abandoned.
I don’t know what these days evoke in your heart, but I do know that this season is an active battleground. And as such, each year it has become increasingly important for me to be aware of who is sitting at my table.
When there is great possibility for praise, our Enemy is lurking, and he only needs the tiniest crack, a sliver of opportunity, to work his way into our space. In a season where we should be most on our guard, we often get crammed, consumeristic, and caught up in the rush and crush of it all, and we lower our defenses. And before we can sing the first line of “Silent Night,” just like that, the devil is sitting at our table, beginning to win the battle for our minds.
Suddenly, we’re halfway to Christmas and we look up and realize we’ve been entertaining the Enemy. We’ve started listening to his lies, hearing things like I am a failure. No one cares about me. I deserve to be bitter. Or, it’ll always be this way.
But here’s the reality we need to reclaim this Advent season: No thoughts like those are from God! Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of John 10 and Psalm 23, never tells you that you are a failure. He doesn’t prompt you to worry or provoke you to fear. He provides clarity, not chaos. He provides green pastures, not dry wastelands. If fear, worry, temptation, a feeling of worthlessness, or a sense of confusion is in your life, then guess what? The Enemy has shown up and dropped a seed in your thinking.
You might be reading this and thinking, Wow, Louie, thanks for the holiday cheer. But hold on! I’ve got more for you.
Just because the Enemy is active doesn’t mean he has to be effective.
In fact, the very Person we are celebrating during Advent has already won our war and has given us the weapons we need to take back our table and recover peace and confidence in the power of a good and gracious God.
Through Jesus, we have the ability to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). When the Enemy schemes and tries to dredge up our past, our pain, or our problems, we can stand on the truth of Scripture and bind those lies in Jesus’ name! You may think that sounds too intense or like too much work, but let me tell you something: If a thought is not taken captive by you in Jesus’ name, that thought will take you captive. Either you will bind the thought, or the thought will, in time, bind you.
So how do we make sure there is no seat available for the Enemy this Advent season? How do we keep our eyes fixed on the King, lingering with Him instead of getting sucked into the swirling vortex that threatens to crash in from every side? Here’s how: We become the DJ of our thoughts, and we reframe Advent from a season of activity to a season of adoration and anticipation. We become more concerned with who is at our table rather than what is, or isn’t, happening around us.
For me, I’ve found that a good and practical place to start is by following the words of Philippians 4:8:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. — NIV
This has become my road map, my compass. Every morning, I wake up and ask God to help me cling to and concentrate on His truth for that day. I can’t completely eliminate the Enemy’s schemes; none of us can. But I can prepare my heart and ready my mind to take every thought captive for my good and God’s glory. When I do this, my Advent season no longer becomes one of shame, or stress, or fear, or guilt. Instead, it becomes a season of hope, of courage, of worship, and of great promise.
God has come near to us, and perhaps there is no better way to experience His nearness than to sit down and enjoy a feast with Him at the table He has prepared specifically for us.
Written for Devotionals Daily by Louie Giglio, author of Don’t Give The Enemy a Seat At Your Table.
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Are you ready to enjoy a feast with God? Today is a perfect day to evaluate your thinking and take every thought captive so that we can enjoy more, rejoice more, celebrate more, worship Him more! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily