Tag: christmas

‘Twas The Night Before the First Christmas

‘Twas the night before the first Christmas and all through the town
Folks were sleeping in hotel beds while Mary and Joseph walked around.

The people were ready for the census to be done
In hopes to return soon to their precious homes.

The animals were nestled all snug in the hay
Just minding their own business on this particular day.

And Mary in her nightgown and Joseph with his staff
Were settling in for a long night with no naps.

When out in the field there arose such a clatter.
The shepherds fell to their knees for a message that would matter.

The angel told them to be calm for he had an announcement to make.
And the shepherds bowed down as their bodies began to shake.

“You should go to Bethlehem even though it may be far.
A king has been born.  You must follow the star.”

The shepherds arose, to their sheep gave a whistle;
And away they all went, walking fast as a missile.

They followed the star to Bethlehem town
Where animals were feeding and all lying down.

When what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a baby wrapped in rags with straw up to his ears.

With mom and dad and a baby with no bling
They knew in a moment it was the prophesied King.

Mary invited them in to hold his sweet little hand.
“His name is Jesus,” she said.  “He’s a special little man.”

The shepherds wanted to shout and tell all the nations.
So they left with their hearts filled and lots of inspiration.

This same little baby is today’s reason for Christmas cheer.
Invite Him into your heart and you, too, can celebrate Christmas all year.

Snow Day!

Covers pulled up around my neck, listening to the sound of slow traffic, praying for the phone to ring and the person on the other end to give me the news of the day.  “NO SCHOOL.  SNOW DAY!”

Do you remember that feeling?  This was well before cell phones and auto text wire messages announcing school cancellations.  We would have the radio on two hours before school was to start just hoping we would hear our school name announced so we could stay in our PJs a little longer and then gather friends to play in the snow.

Mom would bake cookies and we would have hot chocolate.  We would stay out until our toes wouldn’t move and our fingers felt like they would break off.  Then we would come in for a snack and a stint by the warm heater.  Wet clothes would go in the dryer preparing to do it all over again!

No pressure.  Just baking, eating, laughing and playing in the snow.

Oh how I long for a “snow day”!   If snow emergencies are announced and we can’t travel to work, never fear, with today’s technology we can still work from home.  Kids have their school-issued computer devices and homework is doled out from the comfort of the teacher’s couch.  We can never get away.

We just need a snow day.  A day of no emails and cell phones.  A day of  fun with family and friends with no feelings of guilt.  A day full of hot chocolate and homemade cookies.  A day just  sitting by the fire warming up to go play in the snow.

Take time out during this busy season for a snow day – even if there is no snow.  Grab a friend and a cup of hot cocoa and relax.  Go ahead.  Have a snow day.  I double dog dare you!

No Manger Mattress.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed.
The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky look down where He lay.
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

It’s hard to imagine putting a baby on sticky, prickly straw.

As we prepare for our newborn babies to enter this world, we scope out every baby specialty store in the country to find just the perfect crib and matching sheet sets.  The crib has to be ergonomically correct with no lead paint on the finish.

The mattress must have three-inch thick foam and be waterproof.  The sheets must be all cotton, hand sewn and made in the USA.  The crib sheet needs to match the comforter and bumper pad which should coordinate with the wall hanging and the character mobile.

The bedding should all be washed in chemical-free laundry detergent and hung to dry in the fresh air and spritzed with lavender essential oil made from the organic lavender grown in the field that has been “naturally fertilized” by the range-free chickens.

But Jesus, the King of the World, the one who can save us from our sinful self; the One who can change our heart and life with the snap of a finger, was born in a barn, wrapped with soft rags and gently placed on sticky, prickly straw.  No crib.  No mattress.  No matching comforter.  No lavender-spritzed sheet.  Yet it was good enough for a King.  Our King.

That baby lying on that sticky straw is why we even have Christmas to celebrate.  Let us remember Him as we go through this Christmas season and maybe think a little differently as we sing “away in a manger, no crib for a bed”.

Dear Santa…

The real Santa was always at my Uncle Joe’s house.  We would take our girls there to see the Christmas lights display that those from near and far would come to see.  But we were special.  We got to go inside and have a one-on-one visit with the real Santa.

He knew everything Kiersten and Morgan had asked for in their Santa letter because he had really received it (via a little help from Elf Joe).  Their eyes were wide with excitement and amazement as he would personally address their wish list and spend special time with just the two of them.

How fun it is to watch a child visit Santa and offer up their wish list to him.  Some children receive letters back from the North Pole.  Some children send their wish list to Santa by phone, fax or email now.  WOW we’ve come a long way!

I often wonder if children send thank you notes to Santa.  I don’t believe we ever remembered to do that.  Getting the wish list out there was very important but once the wish was granted, I’m not sure a thank you ever went back to the North Pole.

Sometimes we are like that with Jesus, too.  We send up our wish lists of wants and prayer requests.  We promise to be good little Christians if He will just give us our desires.  Then we receive answers to our prayers, responses to our wants and needs and sometimes we forget to thank Him.

Let’s stop today and send up a prayer of thanksgiving for the most important gift ever received.

Dear Santa, thank you for giving me the gift of Jesus.

Four Months Til Christmas!

Yes it is only four months, from today, until Christmas!  I love Christmas and, in my secret way, I celebrate it all year long.  I know some of you are reading this right now and rolling your eyes and telling me to zip my mouth!

Some people think of Christmas as busy, not enough hours in the day, HAVING to shop for gifts, spending way too much money and having to “perform” or keep up with the expectations of others.

Well what if this year we started now?  WHAT!!!  No seriously.  What if we started now thinking of things we can do this far in advance to help minimize the stress?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1.  Start making a list of people you want to send Christmas cards to.  Minimize it.  Maybe you send electronic Christmas wishes to those you see frequently and cards to those you don’t.  Or don’t send cards at all.  Say What????!!!   Yes, hours saved and I bet you might just take some pressure off of others who wish they could do the same thing.
  2. Start putting money back now for Christmas shopping.  You can start a savings account at your local bank or find a safe place to keep $20 a week.  It adds up and by the first of December you will have saved a couple hundred extra dollars.
  3. Start your list for those you wish to buy for and start looking for gifts now.  Then take a box and place it in the corner of your closet or basement and keep your gifts there.  Look for sales and be sure to keep your list with you at all times so you don’t “double purchase” when your normal Christmas shopping time comes around.
  4. Start showing acts of kindness NOW.  It seems like around Christmas time is when everyone gets the kindness gene in full gear.  We can do that all year long.  Kindness matters and you can give your donations and random acts of kindness right now!
  5. Consider minimizing your decorating to be just what you and your family want and not try to meet the large expectations that you THINK others want.  And if you have an Elf visit your Shelf…….start pinning some Pinterest ideas now! haha

But with all this being said, we really need to remember that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.  We get so caught up in all of the fun things of the season that sometimes we forget the real meaning.  I love all the decorations, baking, lights, gift giving and gatherings, too.  But since we are still four months out from the big day of celebration, maybe we start now to create the perfect Christmas.  The one fit for our King!

Merry Christmas in August!  🙂

Put A New Spin On Your Day

Have you ever had a toy spinning top? 

Some of you more “mature” readers may remember these.  They are now called “retro”! hahahha  I loved these tops.  You pull on the lever and pump it getting the toy top to spin faster and faster.  It’s so fun pumping up the spinning mechanism and watching it twirl around with excitement!

But the spinning gradually slows down and eventually comes to a halt.  Christmas time can be that way, can’t it?  We build up for weeks decorating, purchasing, wrapping, baking, cleaning and visiting with our family and friends as we are spinning with excitement and joy!  Then it slows down and gradually comes to a halt.  The Christmas-hype is over.

One of my favorite Hallmark movies is “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”.  Jennifer is just going through the motions of Christmas and says to her new friend, Morgan, “I will be glad when Christmas is over”.  Morgan, who loves Christmas and reminds Jennifer of her childhood excitement at Christmas, says “December 26 is the saddest day of the year”.

We may feel that way, too.  Work time off is either over or winding down.  Kids are tired of new toys and dreading to go back to school.  Schedules and “old normal” are rearing their ugly heads.  For some, true depression starts to set in as the excitement of Christmas is over and the darkness of winter days appear.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  We need to start the new year with a positive spin.  We too can be like the retro toy top!  We can still be full of spinning excitement for EACH new day!  When we understand the true meaning of Christmas, that Jesus came to earth for us, then we can truly live each day full of the spirit of Christmas.

Reality says that we cannot live pumped up like a fast spinning top every day.  We will wind down and can’t always be positive, but what we have available to us for the taking is the one that can fill us with His Spirit and get us full of the spinning excitement again.

As the new year approaches, I encourage you to think about the excitement of the toy top’s spin.  The fun of pumping up the spinning mechanism and watching it twirl with excitement.  I want you to be filled with the spinning excitement of living each day with and for Jesus.  And even though the commercial excitement of Christmas is over just like the winding down of the spinning top, we can keep it going by showing Christ’s love to others all year-long.

We just need to keep pumping ourselves up with God’s word, prayer, worship and daily encouragement.  And when we feel ourselves winding down and falling flat, reach out to the One who can get you pumped up with excitement again.  Let’s vow to try and start each day with a POSITIVE SPIN!

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 8

Online shopping is all the rage these days!!
“Cyber Monday”.
“Extra 25% off online orders.”
“Free Shipping on all orders over $50.”
“Order now and it will be there by December 24th.”

Shoppers count on the shipping magicians to make it happen!  If the vendor says it will be here on time, then by George it will be here on time.

But do the vendors and the shoppers realize that their packages are not the only ones promised to be delivered on time?   Do people realize that UPS, Fed Ex, US Postal Service and Elf Express are working as many hours with as many vehicles as humanly possible?

A friend told me the other day that she saw the mailman driving his car that was so packed down with packages he could hardly see!!   It’s not safe!  hahhaha  And have you ever seen a delivery driver speeding to the next house with the long-awaited packages?  He might as well have a red light flashing on top of the vehicle so everyone can pull over and let the “emergency personnel” drive by.  hahhaa

Today’s Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness Challenge is to show a little love to your postal worker or delivery person.   It’s a hard time of year for these folks and showing a little extra kindness will brighten their day.  Some ideas may include a gift card for lunch somewhere, a WalMart or Target gift card, a coffee mug with candy, a water bottle, a batch of homemade fudge, tools for a male driver or fingernail polish and lotion for a female driver, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

I know it’s Sunday, but get prepared today, and leave it for them tomorrow.  It’s just a little Pick-Me-Up for the people who do the heavy lifting!

 

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 2

Sometimes I think in life we are kinder to the strangers we come in contact with than we are to our own family.  Our family sees the real us!  They see the good, the bad and sometimes even the UGLY!

Jesus was kind to everyone He met. He did not discriminate between the rich and the poor; the sick and the healthy; the righteous and the sinful.

Challenge #2 – be kind to a family member today.  Do something extra special for them.

Make your husband’s favorite cookies.
Do the dishes for your wife.
Pick up the kids’ toys for them instead of making them do it.
Give your mom flowers.
Make dinner for your dad.
Do a chore for your brother or sister.
Write a thank you note to your parents.
Babysit your niece or nephew and let your sister or brother have a little time to themselves.
Visit grandparents and just sit and talk.

Think of something you would like someone to do for you……….then do it for a family member.

Let the KINDNESS spread and continue every day……………………….

Twelve Days of Christmas

We sing about it.
We write about it.
We countdown to Christmas by it.

What is it?  The Twelve Days of Christmas.

So………why don’t we DO SOMETHING with it.  Every day for the next 12 days, I will put a challenge out for you as part of  Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness.  I encourage you to see if you can make a difference to someone each day through Christmas.  Maybe you will enjoy it so much, you will want to continue kindness acts throughout the new year!

Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and He is the greatest gift of all.  He came into the world as a baby who was not born in a hospital, but rather was born in a barn with no monitors; no sterilization; no bottles.   He was perfect.  No flaws.  No colds.  No cancer.

But there are a lot of children in this world with serious medical issues.  Many are fighting for their life at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.   When children go to St. Jude’s, all services are free.  It takes a lot of money to run a research hospital like this but due to this research, there have been breakthroughs for cancer cures.  Unfortunately the journey to finding all cures is very long.

I have visited St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  As a matter of a fact, they were the first hospital to where Bucket Buddies Mission delivered buckets. It is a cause close to my heart.

Today, as Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Christmas Kindness, I encourage you to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to be a part of a cure.  Christmas started with a gift OF a child.  Let’s start our kindness journey with a gift FOR a child.

Merry Christmas!

 

When Is Enough Enough?

I really like the movie Last Holiday with Queen Latifah.  It’s about a gal who worked as a clerk in a retail store and lived in a very poor part of town.  She was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and found out she had 3 weeks to live.  She quit her job, cashed in all her stocks and bonds and went to live the life she had dreamed of living.  She traveled to Prague and ran into the greedy CEO of her retail company but didn’t tell him she worked for his company.  Of course as the story goes, he learns from her and becomes a better person just as …………(wait for it)……..she was misdiagnosed with a faulty CT Scan machine.  She has met the love of her life in the meantime and opens a restaurant she had always dreamed of opening.

During the movie she says to the CEO, “when is enough enough?”  and his response is “enough is never enough.”  But as the movie goes on he realizes money can’t buy his happiness and he needs to change his attitude and the way he treats people.  He realizes that whatever he has really is enough.

How many gifts are enough at Christmas time?  How much money is enough to spend on each person on our list?  When do we stop racing around and trying to keep up with what the world expects us to do?  Cards, Christmas letters, gifts, cookies, fudge, parties, trees, lights, toys, gingerbread houses, concerts.

My question for you today is this:  When is “enough enough” for us?

God sent His Son as the perfect gift.  He was not born with trees and lights and gingerbread houses.  He was born in a barn with cow poop and sheep slobber and smelly straw.   It was enough.  So if God sent Jesus into this world in this way and it was enough, then He is enough for us.

Keep your focus on the reason for the season and realize when enough is enough.  Stop before it gets TOO MUCH.  Trees, lights, gingerbread houses, cards, and gifts are all good things……….but don’t let that take over your Christmas.  Don’t get so exhausted that you don’t enjoy the season.  Remember no matter what you do or what you have, Jesus is ENOUGH!