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Got Post-Christmas Blahs?

26 Dec

There’s a funny “Day after Christmas” poem that might describe many homes in America:

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurting — even the mouse.
The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while
Upstairs the family continued to snore.
And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
Went into the kitchen and started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an over-sized mirror.
The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said “U.S. POSTMAN.”

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox.
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.
Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:

“Now Dillard’s, now Broadway’s, now Penny’s and Sears;
Here’s Levitz’ and Target’s and Mervyn’s ~ all here!!
To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall,
Now chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!”

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.
He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,
“Enjoy what you got … YOU’LL BE PAYING ALL YEAR!” (1)

And then there are all the “returns” after Christmas.

Brian Bill dealt with this by quoting a poem by Dave Veerman called “Many Happy Returns” ~

“‘Twas the day after Christmas, And all through the room
Strewn wrappings were crying For use of a broom

The children were scattered, The friends’ gifts exploring,
Since now most of theirs Were broken or boring.

All tummies were stuffed From the fabulous feast;
Leftovers would serve For one month at least.

And mama and papa Were countryside ranging,
Those unwanted gifts Returned or exchanging.

Yes, Christmas is past With its bustle and noise,
Sales and carols, Santas and toys.

Decorations are packed, The Yule tree’s discarded.
The holiday’s over, Just as we got started….” (2)

It’s so true … if we’re not careful … all the post-Christmas bills and returns will get us down (unless, of course, we paid for it all with cash and chose perfect gifts).

Sometimes, as hard as we try, Christmas is disappointing. It’s like the child who opened all his gifts and then declared, “Is that all there is?” Or maybe there are some relationship problems. Or maybe there is so much activity and you run on adrenaline … and then you crash.  (I know it’s only the day after Christmas… it might take a bit to catch up with you!)

Here’s how I’ve always dealt with post-Christmas blues Continue reading

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Re-energize before Christmas

19 Dec

“Three phrases that sum up Christmas are:  Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not included.” ~ author unknown

“I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, ‘Toys not included.'” ~ Bernard Manning (1)

Ever feel like you need a new set of batteries to keep running?

This is about the time of the Christmas season that I (Dawn) start wearing down, so I took time to think about Fifteen Ways to Re-Energize before Christmas. Maybe this will help you, too.

  1. Connect with friends and family members spontaneously ~ no expectations ~ and chat about some fun holiday memories.
  2. Schedule some play time that doesn’t require a lot of planning. (Holiday preparations can get so intense, they feel like work; so allow yourself some down time. Think like a child.)
  3. Look at your “to do list” and determine whether what you are doing right now absolutely has to be done right now. Is there something you can put off until after Christmas? Something you can delegate? Something you might decide isn’t worth doing at all? Learn when to say “no.”
  4. Think legacy and impact to determine what is important. What will last? How do you want people to remember you? What counts for eternity? What builds people up?
  5. Use “now-time” wisely. Plan for long-term goals, but take just one step at a time. Don’t fret over tomorrow’s responsibilities.
  6. Eat healthy ~ a balance of protein and good carbs.
  7. Drink more water!
  8. Exercise. Yes, that sounds counter-productive, but daily exercise will help, especially if you can get some sunshine outside at the same time to beat winter blues. At the very least, do some slow stretches ~ get every muscle group involved. Reach high… bend low… twist gently.
  9. Breathe deeply … breathe out for as long as you can through your mouth, and then breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold your breath.  Repeat. Repeat.
  10. Simplify housekeeping. Keeping the “clutter” down and wiping down surfaces is all that’s really necessary, if you’ve been keeping your home in shape. Don’t think that your ChristmasNaphouse has to be “immaculate” for guests.
  11. Take a power nap in the middle of the day… it’s better for you than an extra half hour in the morning. (A friend reminded me that it’s not a nap if I’m still holding a cell phone or have my hands on a keyboard!)
  12. Smell good stuff ~ the aromas of your Christmas tree, tangerines, rosemary, etc.
  13. Enjoy light and warmth. Sit by a glowing fireplace, or light candles.
  14. Sing Carols out loud in your home, or listen to Christmas music as you work.
  15. Turn over all of your cares to God.

What I’m talking about here is how to get back a feeling of energy … powering up. These are things, actually, that we can do any time we feel like our batteries have run down.

One of the most “draining” things we can do during the holiday season is to fret and worry about all that we have to do. That’s why I especially like #15 on that list.

The Bible says, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (1 Peter 5:7, Amplified). God says we can cast our cares on Him, and He will sustain us (Psalm 55:22).

We “cast our cares” by handing them over to God. Envision that you have your hands full … because you do! And then hand those things over to God for safe-keeping.

We don’t need to worry about tomorrow’s “to do list” (Matthew 6:34), but only consider what God wants us to do today. Can you feel the “aaaaah” in that?

So, the way we power up to face the stresses of the holidays is really by powering down … or rather, surrendering to God’s power. We recognize that we can’t do it all, but we CAN do all that God wants us to do, by His grace, in His power, with His strength and help.

Relax. Think about what’s really important in this special season, and then ~ cast your cares on the One who has promised to sustain you, and allow Him to recharge your batteries.

(1) http://www.quotegarden.com/christmas.html

All I Want for Christmas Is …

12 Dec

Husbands everywhere can identify with this little poem at Christmastime:

“The wife is shopping for Christmas gifts, With purchases small and large. She doesn’t believe in Santa Clause; She believes in Master Charge!” (1)

Here are the top ten gifts that wives (and girlfriends) probably don’t want for Christmas. (Ladies, give this list to your husbands and boyfriends!

  • A car wash kit
  • A table saw
  • Two all-day passes to Circuit City’s Home Theater Installation Seminar
  • A case of oil
  • Five-year subscription to Sports Illustrated
  • Custom engraved bowling ball
  • New outboard motor for fishing boat
  • Rambo Trilogy on DVD
  • New satellite dish with sports package
  • Three-year membership to Weight Watchers Clinic (2)

I (Dawn) watched an adorable video of a little girl, Melissa Lynn, singing “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” …

And then a video of a sweet little girl, Mary Margaret, singing “I Want a Hippopotomus for Christmas” (without music! She is soooo cute) …

And then I thought, How sweet and simple to only want one thing for Christmas!

It seems our Christmas lists are longer and longer these days. There is so much available, and we want it all, don’t we? Not satisfied with our two front teeth or even a hippopotamus, we want the latest and biggest and best of everything … all the new “i-somethings.”

Perhaps with a tightening economy, it’s time to cut those lists down.

I read that in the Great Depression in the 1930s people valued the most simple gifts:  a pair of socks, a repaired and painted toy ~ “like new,” a handmade cloth doll, a piece of candy, a quarter, a fruit basket, or even a simple orange.

Often, toys were reserved for the very youngest. If parents could afford to buy gifts, it was something practical like shoes. If a family had a Christmas tree, it was bought at the last minute on Christmas Eve when prices were rock-bottom. Christmas wrapping was carefully removed so the paper could be used again.

A common thing parents said back then was, “Be happy you got what you did get … people are starving!” I’m glad I didn’t have to live through those days, but the determination of parents to bring joy and hope to their children inspires me.

From my grandparents, I learned that it’s not things that make us happy, anyway. As my Grandma Webb said, If God’s best gift isn’t in your heart, you’re not going to find it under any Christmas tree.”

She was referring, of course, to Jesus.

Blogger Janice Maeditere wrote, “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” (3)

The truth is, we can gain the whole world and lose everything if we don’t have Jesus ~ if we haven’t opened our heart to Him.

It’s like Anne Graham Lotz says in her powerful message of revival ~ “Just give me Jesus!” [Listen to her praise of Jesus in the powerful first part of this 2009 promotional revival trailer for her ministry conferences!]

Christmas is all about Jesus. Why would I not want God’s wonderful gift?

Christmas is about: His love (1 John 4:7-10; John 3:16), His presence (Matthew 1:23, “Immanuel”~God with us), His grace and forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:1; 1 John 1:9), His rest (Matthew 11:28), His joy (Luke 2:9-12), His peace (Luke 2:13-14; Isaiah 9:6), and so much more!

Is this your heart-cry today ~

All I want for Christmas is … JESUS!

(1) http://sleepingopossum.homestead.com/Christmas/1s.html

(2) http://sleepingopossum.homestead.com/Christmas/wife.html

(3) http://www.quotegarden.com/christmas.html

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