Earlier in the day, I watched as two gaggles of geese flew over the yard. Honking as they went, one gaggle continued northward and the other southbound. This stumped me on this lovely fall day. It appeared that those geese weren’t sure if they should be coming or going.
Do you ever feel that way? In the hustle and bustle of the quickly approaching holiday season, it is easy to wonder if we are coming or going. Be careful not to allow yourself to fall in that harried trap. There may be a lot of cooking, cleaning, shopping, gift wrapping, traveling, parties, and obligations that can become burdensome and exhausting. Remember why you have all these tasks, and maybe ask yourself a few questions along the way.
Do I have to do everything, or can my husband and children help?
Are there any family, work, or social gatherings that can be attended every other year instead of every year?
How can I make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful for myself and my family?
Oftentimes, my biggest stresser is holding unrealistically high expectations.. When I can relax those expectations, the holidays are more enjoyable for me as well as for my family. Maybe you share the same problem.
Most important is staying focused on the purpose of these holidays, and that is evident in their names:
THANKSgiving, CHRISTmas, NEW Year.
When you find yourself wondering if you are coming or going, Stop! Give thanks, reflect on Christ, and anticipate memory making in the New Year.
It is with a heavy heart that I make this first blog entry for the new year 2014. The old year slammed shut with a harsh finality for some of my friends. I am left pondering, “How does one sincerely carry another’s burden of grief and loneliness, shock and disappointment, hurt and unforgiveness?”
Three friends with three completely different situations. My heart aches for each of them.
Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” That is what I’ve been doing on behalf of these dear ones, praying for them and asking God to help them through this difficult time. I’ve also been praying for myself. Why? Because I need wisdom to know how to reach out in love, compassion, and gentleness. I need to let each know that I love, care and hurt for them. I need to be available with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, open arms to hug or hold. I may need self-control to keep my mouth shut, or boldness to say what needs said. I need to be proactive in prayer and availability. I need to live out Apostle Paul’s instruction to “Carry each other’s burden.” (Gal.6:2)
As the door of 2013 slammed shut, the cold wind blew open the door of 2014. No matter what happens this year, I know that “the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100:5)
Are you eagerly anticipating a holly jolly Christmas with everything merry and bright, or are you dreading a blue, blue Christmas? Madam Blueberry of Veggie Tales sings “I’m so blue-oo-oo, blue-oo-oo, blue-oo-oo, blue. I am so blue I don’t know what to do.”
So often in our hustle and bustle of shopping, baking, and celebrating we over look those around us who are having a hard-candy Christmas, barely getting through. Some may be very lonely and sad because they cannot be with their family. Others may be in the midst of a difficult time financially or struggling with their health. The empty chair of a loved one is yet another reminder that he or she has passed on forever leaving an empty hole in the lives of the family.
God loved us so much that He sent his one and only son that first Christmas so long ago. This year I’m looking for ways to share that love with others who may be dreading the holiday season. I’ve been brainstorming ideas: offer to help put up decorations, bake extra goodies and share, have a game night, Christmas carol, invite to be part of our Christmas day, stop in for a visit, call and visit, leave an anonymous gift on porch… Can you think of other ideas? If so, please share a comment.
There are 25 days until Christmas and a whole month until we ring in the New Year, I challenge you to intentionally look for someone that needs their Blue Christmas turned to White, and then do something to share the Joy of Christmas.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 NIV