During Christmas, it seems like we are frequently aware of the whole gift thing & sometimes that can be kind of tricky. Here are some ideas for gifts that could be really useful:
encouragement: Christmas is a great time to put into words (even on a card) how important someone is to you, to let someone know how wonderful they are or what you admire / respect about them
hugs: some people really appreciate a genuine hug during Christmas without getting sketchy 🙂
time: I took one of my kids skiing yesterday & we totally enjoyed lots of time together, without phones, email, FB, etc – just being together
extra effort: doing something nice for someone (bring them a cup of coffee, offer to clean their garage, run errands, etc) can be super meaningful – even creating coupons for work can be a nice gift
gift: gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful
The ideas listed above are from Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book – a super helpful way to express love in ways that are meaningful to the person receiving the gift & not just the person giving the gift 🙂
My kids have been working on their Christmas wish lists & I asked one of them yesterday if world peace was on his list – he chuckled 🙂
When I was growing up, I always wondered about the whole thing of Santa coming down the chimney & how he stayed so clean coming down so many dirty chimneys. Maybe he wore a haz-mat suit for the chimney dives 🙂
But when I’ve been thinking about what might be on God’s wish list, if God has such a thing. Perhaps God would like the inside of our lives to be clean, of course with God’s help. It seems to me that particularly during this season, we often dress up, fix our hair to be pretty & look good on the outside, but let’s not forget to let God help us to clean & fix up the inside of our lives as well. Cleaning out bitterness, strife, unforgiveness, animosity, impatience, . . . . cleaning out some junk in our hearts so that Jesus has room & space to maneuver in our lives without alot of clutter or interference 🙂
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 🙂
It seems to me that in almost every Christmas season, there comes a time when all of the pressures, activities, demands and general busy-ness shifts into the frenzied and frantic zone and the chaos threatens to swallow me into a abyss of cluttered insanity (sorry for all of the adjectives). In the midst of all of this, I find my heart getting really still and quiet, seeking to create some serenity, calm and peace. Even now, I have a few unexpected moments of quiet and while I’m writing this, I find myself letting go of some of the season’s stress and receiving some much needed divine peace.
So my friend, please be sure that with all of this season’s demands and expectations, don’t neglect to take those essential moments to be still and celebrate our Prince of Peace 🙂
Confession time: I don’t like to wrap presents & so for many preceding years, this has been a really bad point of procrastination – so bad that I’ve had melt downs on Christmas Eve looking at all the wrapping I needed to do while thinking about all the meal prep I needed to do for our Christmas meal. No one’s fault but mine. This year, I’m trying something different – I’m trying to wrap 4-5 present over each weekend, attempting to prepare for Christmas better than my recent disasters. So far, it seems to be working.
I’ve also been thinking about preparing for Jesus’ birth this season with Is 40:4 where he talks about bringing the valleys up to meet the road level. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to any depressed areas in my life – low spots in my thinking, actions & conversations. While I’m not advocating denial or burying my head in the sand, there are certainly areas in my life that are lower than what God says in the Bible (low thinking, substandard conversations & actions, etc). So I feel challenged to let the Bible confront & help me to shore up those low areas as I prepare for Jesus’ birth during this season 🙂
We are coming to the close of the Christmas season & it seems to me that we all do Christmas in our own unique ways – which is cause to celebrate! Thankfully, I changed a few of my normal habits so that this year has less stress than preceding years (normally, I procrastinate package wrapping because this is the one task I totally HATE, for various reasons). Anyways, this year we had a wrapping party, so that atrocity has been overcome ,)
I’m now putting my brain into the cooking mode, since today & tomorrow will be filled w food prep. Here are some things that we’ll be cooking (my daughter is helping me):
breakfast: 2 savory bread puddings (spinach / artichoke and ham, cheese & sun dried tomatoes) – I think these hold great promise ,)
meats: turkey & ham
veggies: sweet potato casserole ala’ Isabell & green beans
salads: green salad & my mom’s infamous black cherry jello
chorizo stuffing (my husband’s favorite)
desserts: pecan pie & peach cobbler
So what do you cook & how do you celebrate Christmas???
We are having lots of people over, but the whole point of all of this cooking, preparation, celebration, et. al, is 100% due to Jesus’ birth – indeed, the most noble of all events to celebrate. Merry Christmas!!