In January, tradition has it that we make a bunch of resolutions that the average person keeps for up to 14 days. This year, I have a suggestion to break with tradition. Do something that will make a real and lasting change in your life for the better. I recently was introduced to a book that really changed my perspective on some difficulties I was going through. I am so impressed with the contents of this book that I am going to make it required reading for anyone I counsel. The book, “40 Days to a Joy-filled Life,” has a profound impact starting with “Day 1” if you have an open and teachable heart. Can you say instant gratification? I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a more joyful and peaceful life. If you want to skip the New Year hype this year, try curling up by the fire with this great book based on the principles of Philippians 4:8. Paul wrote this book while he was imprisoned and some writers believe he was waist deep in waste at the time of his writing, and yet Philippians was his most joy-filled book. Paul was an expert at getting above his circumstances and experiencing the joy and peace that are rightfully ours in Christ. God never promised us a bed of roses, but He did promise the grace, joy, and peace to get through any trial by doing it His way. You can decide to exchange good for great in 2013, by allowing Tommy Newberry to mentor you in the ways of joy. The book is made up of mini chapters followed by “Activate Drills” to assist you in implementing the principles the author has just discussed. This great book is only about $10 on amazon.com. Invest in yourself and those who get to live with you, become a joy carrier in 2013!
When I was a little girl life rolled along at a dull steady hum. A big time for me was getting to go to the grocery store with a parent, or making mud pies in the backyard. But Christmastime that was a different story, it was a special and magical time for me. It was filled with lights, the aroma of fresh cut evergreens and activity like parties with ladies in sparkling sequined gowns and gentlemen in handsome tailored suits. And the food . . . oh my! Appetizers were the centerpiece all our holiday festivities. My favorites were the smoked oysters. Yes, I know I was a strange child. But like any red-blooded American child, the highlight of the season was getting to visit Santa at Macy’s to deliver my wish list. I was not a greedy child, I usually just told him that I would love anything he brought me, but it was always good to touch bases with him to make sure he didn’t forget me altogether. On Christmas Eve we always had a big party. It was one of the best days of the year for me because I got to stay up extra late and my father always came. My parents were divorced and I never gave up on the “Parent Trap” syndrome. After the party, I would get in my jammies, and put out Santa’s cookies and milk, then I would go to bed to wait. At least my parents thought I was in bed, but as soon as the lights were out, I leaped into action and took my place for “the wait.” My room had a glass door that led to the patio and you could see into our living room from certain angles. I remember kneeling by my door peeking into the living room waiting for Santa to arrive. What a thrill when I saw a tiny light dancing around the Christmas tree! “Santa!” I strained as hard as I could to catch a glimpse of the jolly fat-guy, but he always alluded me. But knowing he’d been there allowed me to hop back in bed for a peaceful night’s sleep knowing my gifts would be waiting under the tree for me in the morning.
I remember when I discovered that Santa was not real, I was absolutely crushed! When we had children of our own, we elected to let Santa be a part of our celebration on a more honest level. We wanted our children to know that Jesus was the reason for Christmas. We felt if we lied to them about the jolly fat guy that they might think we were lying about Jesus as well. Our children never felt slighted and they always knew they could trust our word.
What are some of your favorite Christmas rituals?
Some pundits tell us that the economy has turned around and we are in an economic upswing. All I know is that the number of children our congregation members adopted from our own congregation this year has increase five times over last year’s number. Doesn’t sound like much of an upswing to me. However, looking for the silver lining, no matter what state you find yourself in, there is always something to be thankful for. Maybe this is a good opportunity to pare back on the elaborateness of Christmas and just enjoy each other and have a simple old fashioned good time. Whatever happened to handmade gifts? Aren’t they the best kind, the ones with love in them? Corporate America flaunts the term that “Less is more.” Maybe we need to adopt that credo into our personal lives as well. What are some of your best holiday traditions, things that make you feel close as a family? If you have some please share them with us. What activities grow you closer as a family around the holiday season? We all need each other in the good times and bad. Let’s get simple again!
It’s that time of year again when we’re all scurrying to and fro like a bunch of squirrels trying to stash the last acorn of the season before another squirrel gets to it first. It’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas as well as your sanity in all the commercialism. But despite it all, there’s something about this time of year that brings the philanthropist out in even the stingiest skinflint. Despite all the efforts to remove every mention of Christ from Christmas, His Spirit reaches out and mankind is filled with an uncontrollable desire to give. We give because He first gave. It was God’s joy to give us His Son, because He loves us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.” John 3:16 What parent isn’t filled with joy and anticipation as they watch their child unwrap that special gift? Our Father is waiting to see if we’ll unwrap His gift and invite Him into our holiday celebrations this year. Let the peace of God reign in your hearts this holiday season as you keep the real gift at the center of your festivities! The best gift you could give your family is a peaceful joy-filled you!