Just a few more weeks before Christmas! That was evident over the weekend in Greenfield last week as we all gathered at the annual Christmas parade. I have to admit that it was fun riding in a boat for the first time (the ministerial alliance float) even if it was being pulled by a truck! The excitement on the kids’ faces was encouraging to me, as well, and even the adults joined in the reverie.
Now that the season is in full swing, I thought I would give a hand to those of you who are still preparing for the “big day.” True, there is always a lot to do, and, unfortunately, several important items tend to be left behind because of the busyness of the season. So, this week, in lieu of the next installment in the Ephesians study, I’m providing my top 5 items to add to your list this holiday season.
5. Give your loved ones some giving. In this season of giving and receiving, we want to make those around us feel loved and to experience the wonder. But we forget that part of the wonder of Christmas isn’t in receiving, but in giving. Help your loved ones, especially your children, participate by providing opportunities to give. A few suggestions include
- Encourage your kids to pick out some gently –used toys that they no longer play with and donate them to area/regional thrift stores and outreaches so other parents, who may not be able to shop at Walmart and the mall this year, can bless their children.
- Give your kids some money and let them shop for toys for other kids, like the toy program at OACAC, Toys for Tots, etc.
4. Share the joy of the season in song.
- Gather some people/kids together and go to homes where Christmas caroling and raising money for those who are less fortunate, even if you are one of them! Teach your kids to give back, not just receive. The change (and perhaps dollars) you gather can help others experience the same joy you are feeling.
- Not into fundraising? Why not simply visit the homes of people in your neighborhood/area who have no family? I think it is time to resurrect the community aspect of the holiday. Go to the homes of those who are alone, whose children are far away, who may not have much joy this holiday season. Take a plate of homemade cookies and a few Christmas carols to brighten up their day.
- An even better place to carol would be the nursing home. Arrange with the activities director a time when you can bring a group to share the joy of the season with Christmas caroling.
3. Remember that everyone is stressed! When you are at the store and someone bumps into you, takes the gift you wanted, doesn’t smile quick enough, etc., remember that you are not the only one stressed this season. You never know what another person may be experiencing or may have experienced. Take a deep breath, pray for patience and love, and share a smile of your own. It will help both of you.
2. Take time to stop and enjoy your family and friends. Don’t let the busyness of the season take over your life. Stop and “smell the pine trees” along the way. Count your blessings and let them know that you are blessed because of them.
1. Don’t forget the “REASON for the Season”! Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s arrival on this earth. And since it falls on a Sunday this year, what better reason to be in church on Christmas morning! We will all be there, and I hope you will, too. Jesus is the reason for this season and, despite what it has largely become, He is still present with us through the Holy Spirit, still giving grace and mercy and joy to those who call on him.
Those are my suggestions. Do you have any? Let me know.
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Mary Kay Glunt
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 393, Greenfield MO 65661