Beliefnet
Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Well…the house is decorated. The cookies baked. The presents bought – and most already wrapped. Others mailed out. I remember when I treated wrapping as an art form – each was decorated to perfection – almost like Martha Stewart. Gone are those days…to much time and too much money. Now I find a bag at the Dollar Store and make do! Better yet, I reuse some from last year!

I did try to bake bread for my neighbors next door…they turned out like bricks! You could build a wall with them! I clearly did something wrong!

All part of Christmas…

But in the midst of that I was reading 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. It says, “May our (“who?”) Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,  (why?) who loved us and by his grace gave us (what?) eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

That is a wonderful Christmas gift. It’ll last all season and into the New Year!

 

 

Have you ever felt dull? Tired? Like the color gray?

Just no joy in living. No spark of excitement. Everyone on FaceBook seems to have the joy and energy for the season- but you. With the holidays coming on you are supposed to be excited about family,shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, parties…no end to the things you have to “look forward to”. But you aren’t. You are dreading it.

Add the fact that it is such an important spiritual occasion…now you feel guilty because you shouldn’t feel this way.

You want it to be January 1st not December 1st.Well it’s not. You  just have to deal with it.

Maybe you take on too much and do what you think you are “supposed” to do – keeping up with neighbors and friends. Meeting expectations of friends and family. No. It’s OK not to keep up. Set limits on what you can realistically do and let the rest slide. I know I say it every year…and still get caught up in all the hype to “do and be”.

But that’s not really what Christmas is all about. This year I am going to eliminate one thing – just one. And when I do eliminate it, I want to use the time and energy I spent on that one thing to think about Jesus’ birthday. The song is “Silent Night, Holy Night” – not “Jingle Bell Rock”. I need some silence and quiet in my life. Jesus did too – He took time out to be alone and pray.

There is a radio station near me that has been playing solid Christmas music for a couple of weeks. I listen to it in the car – there has not been one Christmas Carol or hymn – at least while I am listening. Yesterday the announcer said he was going to play a Christmas hymn. I got excited and then heard Bing Crosby singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”! That is NOT a Christmas hymn!

Maybe our secular culture with it’s chaos and cacophony has so eroded the true meaning of Christmas that we can no longer find the joy in it. I refuse to let it.

The greatest joy of all mankind, of all history is the reason for Christmas. I am not going to let it be stolen.

 

Have a fun day reflecting on the many blessings you enjoyed this year!

I may have posted this last year…it’s worth repeating.

 

There are loved ones that are missing

From the fireside and the feast;

There are faces that have vanished

There are voices that have ceased;

And we know they passed forever

From our mortal grief and pain –

And we thank Thee, Heavenly Father,

For the blessings that remain.

Thanksgiving, Oh, Thanksgiving!

That their love once blessed us here,

That so long they walked beside us

Sharing every smile and tear;

For the joy that past has brought us,

But can never take away –

The sweet and gracious memories

Growing dearer everyday;

For the Faith that kept us patient –

Looking at the things, unseen,

Knowing Spring will follow Winter,

And the earth again be green;

For the hope of that glad meeting

Far from mortal grief and pain;

We Thank Thee, oh our Father

For the blessings that remain.

–Anonymous

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you find yourself. Glut yourself with memories!