From Humbug to Hallelujah!

wordswag_1513340736127What is declared a ‘season of wonder’ can be a time of stress, exhaustion, and over-commitment.  There are some choices we can make that will turn ‘bah, humbug,’ into ‘joy to the world!’  Are you one of those people who say-  “It’s Christmas! So what?”  Find strength, renewal, and hope this Advent. How? You will not find these gifts under your tree or at the office party!

Make people your priority!
Likely, you will either host gatherings or be a guest at one or more. Savor the time. Give another your full attention. Don’t rush, hurry, or just try to ‘get the program’ completed. Enjoy the opportunity to be with friends and family.  Be content with less-than-perfect preparations of food and décor. Those things will quickly fade into oblivion anyway, but an evening of meaningful conversation creates a lasting memory to which we return repeatedly.

Remember to include worship!
Set aside 20 minutes each day between now and Christmas Day, to meditate, to pray, and to read the stories of Jesus’ nativity from Matthew and Luke. Give the Spirit of a God an opportunity to meet you! Tell your family you will be going to church on Christmas Eve. Arrive early and sit with a listening heart, not one wondering, “when will this be over?”  Do more than sing,  “O come, let us adore Him… Christ, the Lord!” Actually enter in.  Which god will claim more of your attention in the next week – the ‘stuff and things’ one, or the Beautiful Savior?  The use of our time, the investment of money, is irrefutable evidence about the identity of our deity. Keeping Christ in Christmas more than putting up a crèche on the lawn , it is about honoring the One whose life is the cause for the celebration.

Give yourself away!
In Acts 20:35 (The Message) says, “I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’ ”  Who needs a gift of forgiveness from you?  Give love. Give time. Give grace. Give away your expectations and receive what these days bring your way. Sit and listen to a child. Go see an elderly person who is alone and enjoy their stories. Send a long overdue note of appreciation to your parents.

Recover wonder!
Read the Christmas story with a child-like heart that says, “Lord, tell me again, how much You love me.”  Make it personal! Watch the old film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and don’t make fun of it! Instead, let it inspire you to make a difference in someone’s life today.  Our sophistication, our cynicism, our intense focus on now can rob us of God’s gift. Let the sophisticates pretend to be bored by the holiday. Choose to be child-like (not childish!) in your wonder.

Let’s anticipate the arrival of New Year’s Day, 2018, having a renewed heart! Sure, you may be tired in body from staying up too late, going here and there, but you will have received Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And, He brings life.

Here’s a word from the Word for this Friday morning –
“The Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. …
We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us-one gracious blessing after another.”
(John 1:14, 16, NLT)

__________

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

Thou didst leave Thy throne
And Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home,
There was found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

 Thou camest, O Lord,
With the living Word
That should set Thy people free.
But, with mocking scorn
And with crown of thorn
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott | Timothy Richard Matthews Public Domain

 

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