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Keeping the Joy in Christmas

November 30th, 2007

Everyone I talk to is stressed about the Christmas holidays. There’s the shopping, vacation planning, entertaining out-of-town guests, baking, decorating the house, and on it goes.

I actually enjoy being busy at Christmas. All the activity is what adds excitement to the season! I think we purposely put that extra work on ourselves. Don’t you agree that it is mostly a good kind of stress?

However, there can be too much of a good thing. If we are not experiencing the Joy of the Christmas spirit, the essence of the season is lost. Beware if you are experiencing these signs:

1. You are angry and short-tempered with people you don’t know who hasn’t done anything to you. You’re mad at the drivers in traffic. You’re at the end of a long check out line, giving the cashier dirty looks. You’re cursing under your breath at the people in front of you with 100 items to check out. You’e in no mood to utter a perfunctory “Merry Christmas” to anyone.

If this is you, you are losing the Joy.

2. You buy gifts based on what the person gave you last year. For the last 2 years, you’ve given your sister a present worth well over $30. What did she give you? Something you saw on sale for 10 bucks. This year’s present from you is going to be from the bargain bin, to make up for the past year’s deficit.

If this is you, you are losing the Joy.

3. You are bent out of shape when things do not go your way. The relatives are changing their schedule of arrival. The party at work is been moved up to this weekend. So you complaining to everyone about not being able to decorate your house as planned, and you won’t be able to get all your presents wrapped.

If this is you, you are losing the Joy.

Take a deep breath! We often get overwhelmed by the minor details of Christmas and forget the big picture. Do you really want to model that for your children? Let us get back to experiencing the Joy of Christmas, and set the mood in your home with a positive outlook this Joyous season.

1. Put on Christmas music at home, and get take-out food. Forget the baking and decorating for a while. Sit around the dinner table and talk about the fun times from last Christmas.

2. Make it easy for yourself and give everyone cash for Christmas. Personalize it by buying an odd or useful container for it at the Dollar Store. This will take out the aggravations of shopping.

3. Read and reread the Christmas story in the Bible in Luke chapter 2. Meditate on the glory of that first Christmas. Spend some moments to thank God for the gift of His Son, and all the blessings you have.

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