Archive | Christmas RSS feed for this section

A Simple Blessing after Christmas

27 Dec
I always think of Christmas as a time of blessing, but I read these “Christmas Facts”* from the United Kingdom (written after Christmas, 2009), and said, “Oh my!”
Here are just a few of those facts:
  • Hospitals in the UK reported four broken arms after “cracker pulling” accidents. [I cannot imagineChristmasCrackers_FreeFoto this… holiday crackers (see right) look so benign!]
  • Three people die each year testing to see if a 9-volt battery works on their tongue.
  • Thirty-one people died (since 1996) by watering their Christmas tree while the tree lights were plugged in. (The UK apparently calls them “fairy lights.”)
  • Nineteen people died within a three-year period, believing that Christmas decorations were chocolate. (Huh?)
  • One hundred and one people (since 1997) had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.
  • One hundred and forty two people were injured, just in 1998, by not removing all pins from new shirts.

May your Christmases always be accident free … especially from those silly things!

I’ll keep this short. Christmas is over and you’re probably exhausted from church and family events. But your heart is full, right?

But if your house is like mine, after the holidays, my house feels a bit chaotic. I keep wishing one of my Christmas gifts was a housekeeper!

HeadingInto2015

I want to share a simple blessing I read in Dianne Barker‘s great book about organizing for the maximum life. **

“When life becomes hectic and harried,

   may you find calm in the chaos.

If your floors don’t sparkle,

   may the glory of the Lord light your face.

If grime streaks your bathroom sink,

   may it never corrode your heart.

If you’re racing the clock and losing,

   may you choose the important over the urgent.”

What a great way to head into the New Year – (1) embracing a calm perspective (by focusing on the  peace of God), and (2) living for God’s glory with (3) a pure heart and (4) right priorities.

[Simple scriptures for meditation on these points: Philippians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 10:31 & Ephesians 1:12; Matthew 5:8; Matthew 6:33]

Take a moment to think about your life right now. Which of those four areas needs a little work today?

Working on even one of them over the next few days might prepare you for the New Year a lot better than a list of resolutions.

– Dawn

Photo of Christmas Cracker: Image Supplied by FreeFoto.com.

* “Christmas Facts” from Sparkpeople.com, 12-26-09

** Book by Dianne Barker: I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! (Crossroad Books, 2014),p. 179.

 

A Christmas ‘Stamp’

21 Dec

Matilda went to her local Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. “I need 100 stamps,” she said.

“What denomination,” the postal clerk asked.

“Oh good heavens,” the old lady said. “Have we come to this?” She thought for a few seconds while the clerk patiently waited, then Matilda said, “OK. Give me 50 Baptists and 50 Methodists.”

LOL!

There’s been lots of controversy lately about holiday stamps. A flyer advertised Kwanzaa and Hanukkah stamps and a gingerbread house ChristmasMadonnaStamp2013stamp … but no “Christian” stamp.

The USPS responded to angry posts on Twitter, explaining that they do sell a Christmas stamp (Madonna and Child) as well as a Poinsettia stamp – but they weren’t on the flyer because they weren’t the newest stamps available.

You know, I’m a lot more concerned about another kind of stamp this Christmas.

It’s not a stamp you put on an envelope.

It’s not a stamp you use in baking, to press an image into cookies.

No, this stamp is found in a song:

“O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

It’s a stamp that is possible only because Jesus humbled himself to become baby, live a life of obedience to the Father, and die as our Savior (Philippians 2:5-8).

Have you ever asked these questions?

  • How much of God’s image is stamped on my life? Do I resemble Jesus?
  • Do I wear his likeness so naturally that people sense His presence?
  • If people can’t “see Jesus” in me, why not?

This is one of God’s goals for my life – for every Christian: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:29a, ESV). The Father wants us to look like His Son … in holiness, in love, in kindness, in power … in so many ways.

Being “conformed” to His image is first a point in time … and then a process … and it’s an ultimate reality in heaven.

He made us a new creation when we first trusted Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we are being changed and renewed (Colossians 3:10) every day. We are God’s workmanship, His creative expression. And we are designed “for good works” (Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 13:21).

God says He will complete this work in us (Philippians 1:6). It’s His work, but we have the blessing and joy to cooperate with Him in our faith, surrender and obedience. And someday, when we stand in God’s presence, the Father will declare the transformation complete (I John 3:2). We will bear the image of His Son forever.

What does the world see as it watches your life. Does it see the stamp of Jesus’ image? If not, what “image” does it see?

— Dawn

Better Than an Elf on a Shelf

7 Dec

The Elf on the Shelf craze has caught on big time in recent years, driven by marketing wizards and fun-loving families everywhere. According to those who know about elves, this special scout elf is sent from the North Pole to help Santa manage his “naughty and nice” lists. Families adopt these elves, name them, and then discover the elves hide in different places around the house, observing their lives. But they can be quite naughty themselves!

Some Elf on the Shelf antics:

  • Mischievous Artist Elf: Use a dry-erase marker to draw funny faces on the glass protecting some tilted, framed family photos – and post the Elf nearby with the marker in his hands.
  • Santa’s Helper Elf: Place the Elf in your kitchen cabinet next to a Ziploc bag ElfAngel_framedfull of “Reindeer food.”
  • Clever Marketing Elf: Prop the Elf near bottles of water with the labels, “Melted Snowmen for Sale.”
  • “Snow Angel” Elf:  Create a Snow Angel from flour on the counter, and then place the Elf in the middle of it.
  • Roasting marshmallow Elf:  Put a mini-marshmallow on the end of a small stick and put the stick in the Elf’s hand. Then place the marshmallow over the end of a tea-light candle.
  • Naughty Elf: Toilet-paper the bathroom and leave the end piece of the paper from the roll in the Elf’s hand.

Family Christmas traditions can be such fun … whether it’s The Elf on the Shelf, funny melted “Frosty the Snowman” cookies, or making bags of “Reindeer Food.”

But we must make sure our children understand it’s all fun that has absolutely nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas.

ElfAndJesus_cropped_WhiteEdgeI laughed hard this week when I saw a daughter-in-love’s photo of my granddaughter’s Elf – “Cupcake” – reading the Christmas story! LOL!

At least the family is trying to keep first things first during this Christmas season! I admire their creativity!

Some people will do away with all secular celebrations during the holidays – that is their conviction before God. Others will incorporate what they can without compromising truth. They will clearly distinguish between fantasy and reality, and always point their children to the Savior and why He came (John 6:38; 1 John 4:14; Luke 19:10; John 3:16-17).

In our home, we chose the second alternative – believing we’re in the world and we can learn to relate to it in positive ways, but we’re not of the world. So we enjoy the natural beauty of pine trees, snow and snowmen, holiday treats, concerts and special holiday programs.

We can have clean family fun, but we always keep an eternal, Gospel-centered perspective.

While the world conspires to shut Jesus out, we’ve tried to be creative in ways to place Him front and center in our lives, our homes, and our celebration.

One thing is for sure: Christmas is more than making room for an Elf on a Shelf. Much more. Let’s be sure the world and especially, our families, see Jesus and know how to make room for Him in their hearts.

What are you doing, in your Christmas celebration, to point others to the Savior?

— Dawn

%d bloggers like this: