This is from a dear friend of mine and since I am terribly under the weather right now and haven't been able to write I thought this would be the perfect time for another "guest commentator." May these thoughts enrich you as they lifted me up today. Enjoy! Claire
TEN SUGGESTIONS FOR A SPIRITUALLY SATISFYING AND JOYOUS CHRISTMAS
1. So often our disappointment with Christmas comes from the storybook illusions and Christmas-carol expectations of the holidays--sleigh bells ringing, snow glistening, chestnuts roasting, and love abounding. Tell God that you want to put away every sentimental picture the world has painted and see Christmas through His eyes.
2. Remember that Christmas is all about giving to meet the spiritual needs of people. When you were dead in your trespasses and sins, God gave His Son to meet your need for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. For the rest of the holiday season, take a moment each day to thank God for His Indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15) and what He means to you personally. Choose one truth about Jesus Christ from the book of Luke each day, write it on a card, stick it in your pocket or on your refrigerator. Focus on it throughout the day, then ask God to give you the opportunity to share those truths with another person who needs to hear it. Rest assured if you pray, God will show you who.
3. So often we miss the joy and peace of this month of remembrance because we get caught up in a whirlwind of activity. Women especially, shouldering the "burden" of the holidays, try to do too much to make Christmas all that we think it should be. But we end up worn-out, tense, and undone by all these things! Take time now to make a list of things you consider priorities this month. Prayerfully submit this list to God. Delete what is unrealistic, what will deter you from what God wants this month, and what will lead to exhaustion. Remember, this is God's holiday, not the world's.
4. Look at the list you've made. Where is there time for you to have leisure with God and family? Write it on your calender in ink. Maybe it will be an evening looking at family photos, playing games, watching a good movie together, spending leisure time with the Lord in the Bible or a good Christian book. Schedule what will encourage and nurture your inner man.
5. Set a budget. Christmas so often becomes a burden. The gifts we give frequently produce a financial strain that can last for months. Ask God what you can do for His kingdom. Then determine your Christmas budget. Limit the number of gifts you give loved ones. Make giving an adventure in prayer. Ask God to help you find the right gift at the right price.
6. Don't spend the holiday alone. If you have no family locally, find someone who is alone and extend the gift of hospitality. Jesus was born so we would never be alone, but rather part of His eternal family. Look for someone who wants to belong to God and host that person for Him.
7. Watch what you eat. Don't reward yourself with food; you'll regret it later. Proper intake of fresh fruits and vegetables will give you healthy energy. Sugar is a depressant; it can wear you out and greatly alter your emotions. Walk by the Spirit's fruit of self-control.
8. Although Christmas is a time of relationships, remember the angels announced "on earth peace among men with whom [God] is pleased." Avoid relationships that bring conflict; refuse to "go there" in any conversation or encounter that is going to disturb the celebration of the birth of the Prince of peace. Remember Jesus is the Savior, not you. Rest in Him, beloved.
9. Darkness can bring depression. Make sure that you get lots of light, especially sunlight. As you bask in the light, let His light shine through you, lifting the spirits of others.
10. Fill your heart with spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. The Messiah, the Christ, has come and will come again soon to reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords.