Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Celebrating Christmas All Year Round

Isn't it amazing how much time we take to prepare for Christmas, all to have it over within a few measley hours? It's easy to forgot all that we've concentrated on during the season of Advent once the decorations are all safely hidden under the cellar stairs.

But it doesn't need to be that way. Who says we need to put a cap on the joy and peace of the season as soon as we tuck the stockings away?

Be Thankful

Why is it so easy to concentrate on the obstacles in our way, but not feel blessed with the many things we have? I know I sure struggle with it. Complaining comes easier than saying, "Thank you, Lord, for all You've given me."

Wake up each morning and think of one thing you are thankful for. Take a moment to say, "Thank you, Lord, for ____________________."

This will start your day off right and help you focus on the positives.

Be Joyful

Have the grumble bunnies moved into your heart and set up house? It seems they sure have around here. There's so much to do and only so much time to do it. The kids need my attention, I need to promote my book, the house is a mess, and so on and so forth. Just thinking of it all makes me tired.

Not only that, it's contagious. My hubby is grumbling about working too much. The kids are grumbling over having to run errands with me. Where does it end?

It ends with you! The awesome thing about God is that He can help us to change. This past Sunday, I committed to making a change in our house. It's not easy to convince the grumble bunnies it's time to pack their bags, but daily prayer will definitely make it easier. Every morning, whether it be while serving breakfast or washing my hair, I take a moment to ask God to help bring about change in me. My girls are with me more than they are with their father. If I create a joyful environment, the kids will be happier. When my husband comes home from work and sees his happy family, he'll be happier too.

Be at Peace

The Christmas season often seems less than peaceful. But considering that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, we strive to find those moments of peaceful reflection during Advent to contemplate His birth and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us. Then once Christmas is over, it's back to the hustle and bustle of our lives, worrying over ever little thing, despite knowing what we learned in Matthew 6:26-34):

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (NKJV)

For a control freak like me who feels she must have a plan of action for every movement, these verses are very tough. I am the one Jesus is speaking of when He says, "O you of little faith."  This year, I am more determined than ever to step out in faith and bring my worries and cares to God and leave them with Him to handle.

Be Thoughtful

Did you ever notice as you walk around during the Christmas season that people are usually more pleasant? More people hold the door for you. Someone will pick up an item that you dropped. Smiles seem to come easier during the month of December.

Striving to capture that feeling and use it all year long will not only impact others around you, it will make you feel better too.

Be Generous

God has given us talents that He wishes us to use for His glory. Don't be afraid to share them with others. Volunteer your time and talents when you can. Even my daughters at the ages of 9 and 7 spend many hours each year volunteering at church or in our community. Even one hour a month can make a huge difference.

This year I am challenging myself and you to hold onto the spirit of Christmas every day. We can do it together with God's help. Won't you join me in helping to change the world...one day at a time!

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