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Christmas Joy

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As we find ourselves in the holiday season once again, we can be sure of many things. People will once again busy themselves with shopping, parties, family gatherings as well as church and school programs. Along with these predictable occurrences will also come recommendations of how to reduce holiday stress, how to find real meaning in Christmas, and how to dodge the development of greed in our children (and adults). As the years pass, it seems to me that there is a growing message of how to survive Christmas! Survive? Really? Is that what it's come to? I even hear people saying, "I wish we could just forget it. It just causes too much stress."

Maybe I'm just a little kid at heart, or maybe I have a hard time letting go of tradition (this is actually true), but thinking of just forgetting the joy of gift-exchanging and programs and the overall joy is just not an option for me. Okay, yes, it can get a little stressful coming up with gifts for people, especially in a struggling economy. But maybe we just need to adjust our approach, along with our attitude about it, rather than dispensing with Christmas celebrations all together. How?

Adjust Our Approach and Attitude
  • Resurrect that dusty, old truth It's the thought that counts. Just because commercialism hi-jacked the inner joy of giving from the heart in order to assure itself plenty of giving of the wallet doesn't mean we have to go along with it. Don't worry about making a list and checking it twice. And if you end up spending too much money on gifts, who's fault is that? Make hand-made gifts or give gifts of your time or favors.

  • Keep your eyes on Jesus. If the Santa craze starts to get to you, set your mind to be a shining light for the manger this year. Volunteer for a church program, write Christmas cards to people in the military and include a devotional book. Include a testimony of your joy for Jesus in your Christmas cards. Write an editorial for the paper. Make home-made wrapping paper from inexpensive blank paper and write Scriptures on it, decorating it with Christmas cookie cutters dipped in tempera paint.

  • Hold on to family traditions. You know the ones that don't cost a penny, but have inestimable value. Keep in mind those who do not have happy family traditions, too. For them, this is not a happy time. But that doesn't mean giving it all up. Rather, it is a time to share with them the hope of being in God's family, both here and in the New Earth.

  • Don't whine. If you don't like the way you are celebrating the holidays, then change your own ways. Christmas is about joy for the arrival of the Messiah, and it is only the beginning of our opportunities to share the hope for His return!
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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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