Wishing You A Blessed Christmas

THIS YEAR, CHRISTMAS FALLS BETWEEN Fridays, so before I forget, I’d like to take this time to wish you, one and all, a very blessed and Merry Christmas. My humble gift to all of you is a wee bit of a Christmas song from Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer.
You can find out more about this musical duo at swan-dyer.co.uk/

For me, Christmas and Easter are the holidays for celebrating. Gift-giving, decorations, singing—celebrating the birth and death of our Saviour. All of this has become part and parcel to the season. I love gift-giving, decorating—no matter what the holiday is … but all holidays—especially Christmas and Easter—have become overly commercialised and that saddens me.

As the saying goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season”—from Christmas, all the way to Easter. For me, the accuracy of the dates on which they are celebrated is a moot point. It’s the simple fact that Jesus has been given to us as a gift from God. A precious gift that keeps on giving. He was born as a gift to us and He died for us—taking all of our sins upon himself in his death. We celebrate what God and Jesus did for us. We’re not celebrating a simply birth. Nor are we celebrating the death. We celebrate what those events represent. For me, these are wow-moments worthy of much celebration. It’s the Christmas Spirit—which should live inside of us all year long. Perhaps during the actual holidays the spirit explodes, but is that a bad thing? For me, absolutely not.

But … it can be overwhelming for some. Perhaps it’s due to the loss of a loved one, or maybe it’s for some other reason. Holidays in general can ignite memories, triggering an otherwise managed depression or sadness, pushing some over the edge.

So, my friends … when you find a “Scrooge” in your midst that cannot be dissuaded, it’s time to turn down your enthusiasm. No, you don’t need to shut it off—simply reign it in when you are around that person. I have a few friends that are triggered by the never-ending Christmas music—something I adore—that is pumped through speakers at the malls and offices, ice rinks and even on the streets. There is no escaping it and it is slowly driving them crackers-crazy.

There are things we can do for these fragile friends of ours. Find quiet places to spend time with them: take a walk—away from all the hustle and bustle, invite them over for a quiet lunch or dinner … and surround them with loving prayer, to help them through the holiday. Enjoy the holidays with them. Save the enthusiastic holiday cheer for your like-minded friends.

Until next Friday, I would like to wish you all a blessed and Merry Christmas. Have a fantastic Friday, weekend and a not-too-crazy week (unless you like that kind of thing <eye roll>). Now, I’m off to work on Christmas cards—better late than never—and persimmon pudding baking! Cheers!

Bah Humbug…?

I HAVE BEEN A CURMUDGEON this last month.  Yes, I know, euphoric as I worked on (and achieved) my word count for NaNoWriMo, but a curmudgeon none the less…

I’ll even go as far as to say, a “Bah-Humbuger”.  From me, that is saying an awful lot.  Me. The ever-cheerful, always optimistic individual…to be down, anti-holiday, anti-social, well…let’s just say, where the heck is the real me hiding??

Okay.  I have to admit, aside from the NaNo project, there hasn’t been a lot of positive things going on in my life — that I could focus on.  There are always positives in our lives to focus on, if we try.  But I didn’t want to try.  That would require effort and I simply had no energy to try.  Pity party, anyone?

I desperately needed an attitude adjustment, and today was the perfect day to begin.  I started my day, as usual — greatly needing coffee, doing the things that are required of me first thing, then went back upstairs to dress.  My bed beckoned me, so without even a second thought, I acquiesced…no, that’s the wrong word — there was no reluctance.  I fully supported the idea, so on the bed I flopped.  My cat joined me, trying to snuggle in as I pulled covers over my head.  Go away.  He did.

Then, for some unknown reason, I decided to do something I haven’t done for almost a month.  I did a few of my “bed exercises” — micro exercises, really.  My version of situps…simply engaging the muscle because of back issues.  Then, since that felt so good, I stretched out my legs.

It’s funny how the simple act of moving can engage the brain.

I was then up, wandering into my “exercise room” and opened up my DOAC (that’s short for Dinosaur of a Computer) and cued up my Christmas music.  With the music blaring, I found myself even more energized & began a short stint on my archaic Aerobic Rider, and then sat on my exercise ball for a bit, to engage the back muscles with micro movements.

As I exercised, I bemoaned that fact that I have not, over the last four or five years (…or more), been able to find one story that I use to read to my daughter every year at Christmastime.  There were many stories, but this one, though fictional, has settled firmly and is planted itself deeply into my mind.  Some day, I will find the book and rejoice.  Until then, I can only think about the ideas presented in the story.  A creature from Santa’s Village, thought to be a bumbling fellow, somehow was given the responsibility of bringing back to the Village the beautiful rainbow that represented God’s Promise.  There were many adventures as he went to retrieve it and he succeeded in finding it, but when he was almost home with it, in his excitement, he dropped it and it broke into millions of pieces.

Crying, everyone admonished him for destroying God’s Promise.  But wise, old Santa was overjoyed with an idea.  He instructed everyone to pick up all the pieces and to put them on the Village Christmas tree.  The beautiful blues, reds, yellows, oranges and purples adorn the tree magnificently.  God’s Promise, sparking for all to see.  This is the story of how we acquired the lights for our trees to herald the season.

So, every time I see those little glitters of light in the night on rooftops, in windows and on trees, it awakens something deep inside me, reminding me of God and his gift to us.  Yes, that particular Promise, in the form of the rainbow, was a promise to never destroy the world again, but because of that, we are now able to enjoy the most magnificent of all gifts that He has ever presented us.

A gift that is with us today, and forever.  Through the giving up of His only son to us, He gave us the gifts of Grace and Forgiveness, so that we could forever be part of His family.   Princes and Princesses, Children of God.  Such a blessed gift that no one should take lightly.

But to receive these gifts, we must ask.  He will  give them freely, but you cannot expect to be given them without first asking.  And that asking requires a mustard seed of faith in Him (but that’s another blog entirely).

This is the season of giving.  Stop for a moment.  Be at peace.  Why are you frantically scurrying around to find the “perfect gift” for your child or spouse or loved ones?  Isn’t there a better way?

YES.  For both family and friends, the very best gift is the gift of giving.  Why not give a gift of time or money to charitable organizations in the name of your friends and family.  There are so many wonderful organizations that are begging for help so they may help others in need.  Make your life less crazy so you can enjoy the season, and put a light into the life of someone else.  Compassion International, Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Second Harvest, any of the soup kitchens in your area, ordinary families asking for assistance through local churches and organizations — believe me, they are there!  Simply open your eyes, ask around, Google your favorite cause.

Remember the reason for the season and give.

May this Christmas and those ahead of you be a blessed, peaceful time for you and your family.

Peace and Joy to you all.