This is a reminder to myself that if and when I feel over stressed this holiday season,
I promise to stop, take a deep breath, and say to myself the words, "everything in love". If love is my focus, it brings a peace to my heart and things seem to come into focus. (at least it's worked before!)
Look to the LORD and his strength,
seek his face always.
May the Lord bless your families this Christmas season.
I've been thinking alot on this lately, what it is exactly, is it the same for all? When I was young, I always waited for it. I waited on that warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by Christmas lights and cookies baking in the oven and decorating the tree. I didn't give it alot of thought back then. I always knew it would arrive just in time to go out and buy presents. Some years it was Christmas Eve before I felt moved to go buy presents for my family. No worries...life was simpler then.
Christmas can be a hard time for those who are lacking. Lacking in anything really~ family, friends, time, money . . .As I've grown older, a panic sets in at times, realizing I'm responsible for my family's Christmas and feeling inadequate.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the commercials on tv with increased cynicism. I found myself wondering who was behind all of this commercialism anyway. The baby Jesus was born in a simple barn, with hay for his bed. How does buying the latest gadget for our loved ones celebrate his birth? I felt no Christmas spirit. In fact with $4.49 in the bank to last another 4 days until payday I was seriously considering celebrating Christmas with no gifts. I was reading up about others who had accomplished this successfully and I was trying to come up with creative ideas for other things we could do. I felt peace in God's provision, but for the most part I was feeling very lacking. Lacking financially, and most of all, lacking in the Christmas spirit.
I'm sharing this only because maybe you have felt the same. I woke up the next morning and I had a message that one of my photos had sold. That was my first little encouragement that God hadn't forgotten about me! Then a couple of days later came more totally unexpected blessings that only God could have sent. I then had to reconcile my latest blessings with my recent thinking. The Christmas spirit was beginning to take over! I entered into that crazy crowd of people looking for just the right gift for their most special people. I didn't feel cynical, or hypocritical. I felt joy! Warm and fuzzy joy! It's Christmas!
"Where did this come from?", I analyzed. I felt God's love and His presence in my everyday doings. I felt peace and began to see things a little differently. Remember how we as children watched our parents prepare for Christmas and experienced the joy of opening our presents on Christmas morning. We in turn tried to imitate this gift giving in our small ways. Making gifts with paper, scissors, glue and glitter or going to the store and buying small gifts that felt like treasures in our small hands.
Well, isn't that what we're all doing at this wonderful season of the year? God gave us His son, His most precious gift. What were the wise men and the shepherd's reaction? They showered Him with gifts somehow sensing the treasure they had been given.
Yes, we will get caught up in a little bit of materialism, watching for the best prices and driving all over town for just the right color or size. We're merely children, giving to those we love, imitating our Father, who showers us with gifts. God sees us as we see our children. Running around trying to give back just as we have been given to.
So, give yourself the gift of Christmas. It's Ok! You don't have to spend a fortune that you don't have. Enter into the joy. The Christmas spirit will sneak up on you. Remember that what we're lacking at this time of the year seems magnified, but also the blessings ~ the simple gifts take on new and a greater meaning. Homemade goodies, hand made gifts, time with friends or your children. Take time for the simple things. Remember what a difference one day can make. Open your heart.
It occurrs to me, as I finish this, that all that I have and all that I am is because of that baby sleeping in the hay. Isn't that all that really matters?
"God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. "
2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (Now go read my friend's The Bus Stop. I guess great minds think alike!)