Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed. If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear. If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles. While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult. Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss. It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes. Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂
Since we’re in the middle of the Christmas season, my kids have organized, refined, amended & advertised their wish lists version 4.5. Here’s an interesting twist: what if Santa had a wish list? What would Santa’s wish list look like? Perhaps Santa would like a chia pet or a vegamatic chopper ,)
More likely, Santa probably wants his reindeer & elves to work together without strife & division. If you think about it, both the reindeer & elves have some hefty responsibilities & the last thing Santa would want to deal with would be conflict among the elves or dissension with the reindeer. Perhaps our Heavenly Father has the same thing on His wish list this Christmas – maybe our Heavenly Father would be super pleased if the strife & conflict with His children was reduced or even eliminated. Let’s you & me make this goal (harmony with each other) one of our priorities so God can check this one off of His wish list – peace on earth & good will among men 🙂
During this Christmas season, I’ve been really thinking about Jesus being a newborn & it’s totally rocking my world. I’ve been thinking about Mary having labor in a room where the sheep, goats, cattle, etc were kept. I’ve been thinking about what it was like for her to go through labor for her first time, not at home and maybe not in a very comfortable place. I’ve been thinking about Jesus being a newborn – what a TOTALLY CRAZY thought. The Son of God, present at the creation of the world, prophesied to Adam & Eve, the Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father (Is 9:6) and eagerly anticipated for thousands of years being a newborn baby.
Having had three newborn babies (I have three kids) and getting to work first hand with babies with Saving Moses, I’m blown away to think about the second person of the Trinity being a newborn baby – it takes my breath away to think of Jesus as a newborn 🙂
We are all very popular. Everyone wants to get our attention. But ultimately, what businesses want even more than our attention is our money & they go to elaborate efforts to engage us for this treasure.
But here’s God’s crazy advertising scheme: send His only son, “disguise” Him as a human, empower Him to express genuinely transformational love & then let Him be brutally murdered. To secure humanity’s attention, God raised His son from the dead – now that’s some premier marketing & advertising. But God’s ultimate goal isn’t your money but rather your heart for a deeply satisfying & fulfilling relationship with the Creator of the universe. Skip the marketing hype & surrender to real love 🙂
Christmas brings out the best & the worst in us. We tend to be more generous & compassionate but at the same time more impatient and cranky. Christmas motivates us to see the needs of people around us, like Saving Moses, but because of the increased pressure & work that can come with this season, we can also be more self-centered and less flexible. In the next few weeks, I’m planning to do some really practical & honest blogs about dealing with Christmas. Below are a few ideas about handling cranky people in the Christmas season:
- remember that Christmas isn’t an easy season for many people to navigate (deaths in family, difficult memories, loneliness, financial pressures, etc)
- if someone is cranky, don’t let their behavior & attitude infect your words or attitude
- plan ahead to be extra patient, gracious & kind (pre-planning our attitudes is a great tool to have available when the need arises)
- gain satisfaction from being generous & kind, not from the person’s reaction (internal versus external fulfillment)
- keep Jesus at the center – full stop.
If the truth be known, I have to really mind my attitude in the holiday season. Unfortunately, I find it easy to get cranky, impatient & snarky. I tend to try & justify this stuff saying I’m tired, I have lots of extra work, etc. But I want to do better this year & I want to manage my attitude more than letting it manage me. For me, the best way to accomplish this is to ask God for help as frequently as possible, along w memorizing a few Bible verses. Attitude affects altitude 🙂
When I was learning to snowboard, one of the super important terms / skills that was essential to master was the concept of linking turns – being able to turn from moving to the right to the left & vice versa – easier said than done. Today, I have no problem linking my turns & it’s close to second nature for me, but not without lots of falling, spills, pain, etc. What I’ve learned from snowboarding is that there can be lots of lessons I can learn from pain. These include:
*get up & keep trying
*transitions require lots of practice to be smooth
*when I get lazy, I tend to fall more
*sometimes I need to give my legs a rest
*remember the lesson but forget the pain 🙂