That Empty Chair At Christmas

Earlier this week I read an excerpt from the book, Becoming A Woman At Peace. It read, “A few years ago, an experiment was conducted in which professional actors spent a day working on one of two scenes — either an upbeat one or a depressing one. At the end of the day researchers measured the actors’ immune responsiveness. Guess what? Actors who spent the day working on the uplifting scene showed increased immune responsiveness, while actors assigned to the sad scene showed decreased responsiveness.”

I found this interesting but not surprising, because God’s Word is full of instructions that lead to a healthy life, such as Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” I have experienced this, as no doubt, you have, too. You wake up feeling good when you receive depressing news. You think about it. The situation is stuck in your thoughts like a gear shift frozen in first. You can’t move forward any faster. Mental anguish zaps physical strength. This can be especially true during the Christmas season when loved ones are missing from our tables.

As I was contemplating the above, this verse popped into my thinking: Philippians 4:8,Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” It’s so easy, when we are down and struggling, to continue dwelling on those things that are pulling us deeper into a sea of sadness. As an experiment, let’s try the above. Let’s make a choice in the most despondent of moments to find something positive on which to “Fix your thoughts.”

For example, Christmastime. A season that can be, for so many, a time when melancholy chokes away any joy. Loved ones that were with us in Christmas’ past are no longer here. Instead of dwelling only on that fact, “Fix your thoughts” on the happy memories of when that person was with you. Remember their jokes, their laughter, their favorite foods, and funny little habits. Share out loud those memories with those around you. “Fix your thoughts” on those things. Picture their faces laughing, and then, laugh, too, with the memory.

Making a choice to “Fix your thoughts” on things like the above, may not only lift a curtain of despondency, but it will raise a banner of honor to that wonderful person, who is no longer sitting — in that empty chair at Christmas.

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