As I read my daily devotional, I’m reminded that Satan doesn’t slow down because it’s Christmas. He doesn’t take a vacation to reflect on his goals for the coming year, picking one word to focus on. In fact, I think Satan does quite the opposite by ramping up his attacks during the Christmas Season.

Not only does he want to steal our joy and happiness, but he wants to take the focus off of why we should feel joy and happiness in the first place, the birth of a Savior! A Savior that brings us great hope! The only One, in fact, that could bring hope for all mankind!

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).’” (Matt. 1:21-23).

Immanuel, God with us.

God with us—not God up in heaven, looking down, watching us to see if we will make more good choices than bad—but a God who left heaven to be with us. He loved us so much that He put on flesh to be our saving hope and made a way for us to spend eternity with Him forever!

Yet, at this joyous time of year, I see so many people hurting, hearts heavy with sadness, pain and regret. Families torn apart leaving children spinning in disillusionment. For so many, the holidays bring up past pain and hurt from the ones who were supposed to love them and take care of them… but they didn’t. And now having to face the ones who hurt them and pretending life is normal, they try to celebrate the birth of a Savior.

How can we be joyous in the middle of that? How can we sift through the raw emotions of agony and truly be joyful? I long to celebrate with peace and joy for a God who has given me so much.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 5:6-11).

Verse 7 teaches, if we would humble ourselves before God‘s mighty right hand, a hand with power to act according to His will, then at the right time, He will lift us up. He cares for us and wants us to come to Him with our worries. He doesn’t want us to put on a pretend happy face but to be real and honest.

Verse 8 shows us we need to “Be Alert!” Look for your enemy in the midst of this season. Where is he influencing your thoughts, attitudes and actions? What lies would he have you believe? Being aware of Satan is the first step in resisting him. We can’t resist what we don’t acknowledge.

Then, once you recognize him, verse 9 tells us to resist him. How do we resist him? Stand firm in your faith! Stand up against your enemy by the Word of God and the testimony of your faith. Satan cannot argue with God’s Word, and God promises if you resist the devil he will flee (James 4:7, see also Matthew 4). According to this verse, we gain encouragement, knowing others are doing the same thing. You are not alone!  Countless others are having to fight and stand firm in their faith, and if they can do it, you can too!

Then comes verse 10. The everlasting promise that God will restore, establish, strengthen and support you personally.

Because He is Immanuel, God with us, He has never left your side. He has been with you each step of the way, and He won’t stop now!

Rejoice in your Savior! Rejoice that He is with you, will strengthen you when you need it, support you in times of trouble and establish His will in your life when you humble yourself, be alert of the real enemy and resist him. God bless you this Christmas season!