I have been thinking about something all week. I have been reflecting on the second Christmas after we buried Jesse and then Tanya.

It was the holidays, my grandchildren were so excited. Me, I could not shake the depression and darkness I was feeling.

I still did all I was supposed to do. I got up, went to work, wrote motivations, came home, went to bed and stayed there until I had to do it again. During the days, I smiled, I said ‘Praise the Lord’ and I prayed for people…but my evenings and nights were the darkest times of my life. And no one knew, I told no one.

I knew the word. I had lived it for many years. I knew the faithfulness of God and I could not understand why I could not pull myself out of this dark place, but I couldn’t.

During that time, God showed me that it wasn’t burying Jesse, or Tanya or my dad that had brought me to this dark place…those things were just the ‘straws that broke the camel’s back.’

He showed me that it was a culmination of the things that had happened for the past few years….the disappointments, the betrayals, the loss…all those things I had walked through but not truly dealt with in my heart. Those things, not dealt with, kept piling up and finally all came crashing down.

It’s not good to walk through hard stuff and not deal with it. That doesn’t make it go away, it is still there, needing to be dealt with…until we do that, healing cannot come.

I never knew that. I thought with each disappointment, if I simply kept moving forward, kept speaking the word, that the losses, the betrayals and the disappointments would fall away…but they didn’t. They remained until I came to a place to deal with them.

So, it was the holidays and I knew something had to change. I knew my focus had to change.

I bought a pager type thing, I had my son-in-law set it for me. It vibrated and buzzed every 15 minutes. Each time it went off, I stopped whatever I was doing and praised God for something…whatever I could think of, every 15 minutes I stopped and praised God.

I wore that little pager for three months, every day, no matter where I was, I praised and thanked God every 15 minutes. It brought me out of that dark place. How? I shifted my focus and got it off me and back on God.

Thanksgiving and Praise has amazing effects. Darkness and disappointment cannot stay where thanksgiving exists.

So many people do not feel joy at Christmas and this should not be so. We need to get our eyes off the hustle and bustle. We need to get our eyes off all the things we feel we have to do. It’s about Jesus, right? Then we need to get our eyes back on Jesus!

It’s not about the presents. It’s about His presence and how His presence on this earth changed everything. His presence is really all we need.

Instead of filling your house with presents, first, fill it with His presence. In His presence is Fullness of Joy! If you want Joy this season…all you need is His presence.

When I walked through the darkest time of my life I prayed…’Lord, I thank you that one day I will be thankful for this season.’

Today, I still don’t understand that season, but this I know…He never left me, He walked with me through it all and He brought me through it. I’m still here. I am still worshipping my God and I still trust Him with every fiber of my being. And for that I am exceedingly thankful.

I don’t know where you find yourself today, but wherever that is…don’t allow Christmas to be about anything but Christ and who He is in you…His presence in you is all you need.

If you find yourself alone this Christmas…make it all about Him. Christmas morning get up and prepare communion and sup with Him…what joy that is.

Or show others Christ in you and be a blessing to someone else…how joyful that will be!

Whatever you do…keep your eyes on Him and bask in Him…in His presence is Fullness of Joy…Receive His Joy today!

With much love,
Kim Potter

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