What ‘shoulds and expectations’ do we add to Christmas?
Christmas Day Prayer
I salute you!
There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy.
And so at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away. –Fra. Giovanni, A.D. 1513
Christmas is a difficult time for the grieving. Let them grieve in their own way, but let them know you are willing to help them with things like decorating or baking. Take them shopping. Invite them to your holiday functions. Volunteer together at a food bank, collect for a charity or help in a soup kitchen.
Do not tell them to ‘get over it.’ Be willing to sit with them when they cry. Let them talk about their loved one. Send cards or letters. Phone or text often.
Why? Just because you can represent the loving care of Christ to someone who needs it.
My eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you. (Psalm 88:9, NIV)
Prayer-Father, help us help others through their pain, for so often, you have done the same for us. In Christ, Amen.
What is happening to your diet right about now? And we are only a few days into holiday eating!
Have the sugar plums and chocolate buns eaten their way onto your thighs? It is not too late to salvage the season. Try these few changes (and give up second helping):
- At parties, scope the whole buffet before putting anything on your plate.
- Go for the raw veggies, low cal shrimp.
- Make / serve tiny tarts and cookies instead of instead of monster portions.
- It never pays to miss a meal.
- Don’t skip your exercise routine.
- Keep lots of low-cal foods on hand for impulse eating.
Of course these are all helpful, but most of all, do not give up your time with God, for he is your key to success in all areas, even fat.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,” Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. (Proverbs 4:4-5, NIV)
Prayer- Lord, thank you for reminding us that your word is full of answers, if we will but ask the questions! Amen.
Christmas is for celebrating the birth of Jesus. If you find yourself stuck in the kitchen and unable to enjoy the holiday, rethink the whole plan.
First, make a list of the parties you intend to hold. Now eliminate at least 50% of them.
Then, decide how many events can be downsized. You know, coffee and dessert instead of full turkey/stuffing dos.
Now plan simple menus for your main gatherings. Will potluck work for some of them?
This is not the time to try new recipes. Stick with tried and true favorites. Shop early for the items you need. Make sure you have storage space for them. Then all you have to do is enjoy the birth of the Christ Child. After all, Christmas is really all about the Baby Jesus, isn’t it!
A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life. (Proverbs 13:7, MSG)
Prayer- Dear Father God, help us be mindful of what really matters this season. Amen.
The shopper stopped and stared at the aisle of Christmas decorations. Then I heard her cry out “No! Not again!” And I listened while she repeated the same words, this time with a moan.
What horrors triggered this response? Was it over commitment, excessive expectations, a rude clerk or a charge card yet unpaid from the last Christmas? Nope. She saw the first Christmas decorations of the season.
It’s still early enough to make wise decisions about how we’ll celebrate Christmas this year.
If it is stressful, why not fix it? Let’s cut out the crazy. Simplify our plans. Figure out stress-less ways to save money and tame social schedules. Let’s take angel advice from the first Christmas and go right for the joy.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. (Luke 2:10, NIV)
Christmas? “No! Not again?” Yes, again…and again… and again, or at least until the Lord Jesus returns.
Prayer- Thank you, Lord, for giving us the common sense to celebrate what really counts–Jesus. Amen.
It’s Christmas time, but Cecile is surrounded by heat, dust, strangers, and death. If she’d accepted Colin’s proposal and stayed in Canada, she would be enjoying a “normal” Christmas. Instead, she’s stranded in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, serving as the lone nurse at a mission clinic, faced with medical emergencies she wasn’t trained to deal with. Little has changed despite months of hard work. Cecile has never been a quitter, but she’s tempted to just pack it in and return home. She wants her life to make a difference. Did she mistake God’s calling in her life?
By— Ruth L. Snyder, who was privileged to spend the first ten years of her life in southern Africa where her parents were missionaries. She now lives near Glendon, the pyrogy capital of Alberta, Canada with her husband Kendall and their five young children. Ruth enjoys reading, writing, teaching piano, photography, crafts, and travel. She is a member of The Christian PEN, The Word Guild, and InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship. Learn more about Ruth and her writing at http://ruthlsnyder.com.
Download your copy December 5th from Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble.
Get in the Christmas Spirit with this delightful new release: An Unexpected Glory by Marcia Lee Laycock–availabale on Amazon. (See links below!)
New Release in Kathi Macia’s 12 Days of Christmas Series – An Unexpected Glory is a delightful story about a Christmas pageant gone wrong. Or has it?
Pastor Steve is undone when he gets a phone call telling him the annual Christmas pageant has to be cancelled. It’s the main fundraiser for the men’s shelter he runs and he knows without a spectacular event they will have to close their doors. When his right-hand man suggests they use the residents to make it happen, Pastor Steve is sceptical. But as the day progresses and he runs from one potential disaster to another, God shows Him what miracles are really made of.
Here are the links!
Some one just told me that there was one Christmas Birthday. The rest are anniversaries.
Think about it. Christ came as a babe one time. Now we celebrate it year by year as his birthday when we shuld be calling it an anniversary.
Alright…picky, picky. Yes it is and does it matter? After all the results are the same. Love and salvation for the sinners, the you and the me of this world.
I read my facebook page and see the traditional Merrys, Ho-Ho’s and Jollys but interspersed heavily are the bah Humbug. Christmas sucks and why an I wearing myself out comments…
Sad isn’t it, that so many of us have missed the message of anniversary and are still trying to keep up with the birthday?
Cause after all is said and done…it is done. Christ died for us and we can just rest in that now and forever…
I don’t know anything about this author, but I love her truth. I hope she had this poem published as a children’s book. You may not have autism, but you can insert your own problem , anything from grief, to cancer to lonliness and more and find that the same truths hold true. Don’t you judge me…and I won’t judge you….
Autism Night Before Christmas by Cindy Waeltermann
Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through the house
The creatures were stirring, yes, even the mouse.
We tried melatonin and gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters, they always distract.
The children were finally all nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror ran through my OWN head
Did I get the right gift? The right color and style?
Would there be a tantrum or even, maybe, a smile?
Our relatives come but they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets just from flapping his hands.
“He needs discipline,” they say “Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent” and on goes the attack.
We smile and nod because we know deep inside
The argument is moot. Let them all take a side.
We know what it’s like to live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs, achievements, regressions…
But what they don’t know and what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel over simplicity .
He said “hello!” He ate something green!
He told his first lie! He did not cause a scene!
He peed on the potty. who cares if he’s ten?
He stopped saying the same thing again and again!
Others don’t realize just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on at the end of our rope.
But what they don’t see is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism make the tiniest stride.
We may look at others without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred or even distaste,
But what they don’t know, nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism bring simplicity.
We don’t get excited over expensive things.
We jump for joy with the progress work brings
Children with autism try hard every day.
That they make us proud more than words can say.
They work even harder than you or I
To achieve something small, to reach a star in the sky
So to those who don’t get it or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes and I’ll assure you
That even 10 minutes into the walk
You’ll look at me with respect, even shock.
You will realize what it is that I go through
And the next time you judge, I can assure you
That you won’t say a thing. You’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did when the tables were turned…