Monday, November 18, 2013

A few ways you can make this Christmas a richer experience ...

Don't you just love Thanksgiving and Christmas?

I do!

It's more like a season of worship and celebration for the Christian. But with the growing influence of technology in our lives, it has also become something else for some: a season for complaining.

Every year for a while now, I've noticed how so many Christians spend a lot of time complaining how non-Christians "misuse" Christmas. From griping about "It's Christmas, not xmas!" or "What does Santa have to do with Christmas?" to other things they don't like, they warp what could be a time of rich worship and fellowship to focus on the behaviors of others.

Let me offer some suggestions as to how this Christmas can be a richer experience for you ...

1. Take your focus off the behaviors of others, and instead, put it back onto Jesus. One of the things Christians complain about is that Jesus is supposed to be "the reason for the season." In that case, make it that way! Make this holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas all about the One that it really is all about, not the behaviors of others.

2. Re-discover Christmas. Just this once, I'm going to break a general rule I have of not recommending a book without first reading it. Ray Hollenbach is one of those social media connections that has become a real blessing to me, and Ray has written a book that might be a fun and real blessing to you this Christmas. It's called "25 Days of Christmas: A Devotional for Incredibly Busy People." I love the description of the book provided on Amazon:

"A Christmas devotional for incredibly busy people. Each day in December, in one minute or less, you can capture a concept that will enrich your journey toward Christmas day. Everyone's busy --- and the holidays only add to the list of things to do. Yet Christmas is something more than a celebration of an event from long ago or modern holiday centered around shopping. God is still speaking through the Christmas story: the gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus are filled with encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and His wisdom for us today. This practical book means you can catch a devotional moment on the go. If you can create enough space to read these one-minute devotions, you can carry these thoughts and ideas with you the rest of the day. Why not build a habit of turning your attention toward God's grace day-by-day as you see Christmas coming? Just one minute to light the candle, and you can nurture the flame throughout the day."

What a great idea! What a great tool! The book sells on Amazon for just .99 cents for the Kindle version, or only $4.49 as a small paperback (you can find it here http://amzn.to/1b3YmoT).

Here's another great idea ... you still have time to order several copies of the paperback and share them as gifts for your friends for Thanksgiving Day. This would be a great way to share how you are thankful for their friendship, and provide them with the opportunity to read through the devotionals as they enjoy the Christmas season.

3. Be a blessing to someone. Living Bread Ministries plants churches among the global poor, and this Christmas they will be ministering to about 1,000 children. To do so, they need your help!

You can learn more about this opportunity to become part of "Share Christmas" at this link http://bit.ly/Pphhw6. Please take a look and see if this is a way you would like to share God's love with others this Christmas. They could really use your help!

4. Let your light shine. Instead of being bothered by what others do with Christmas, let your light shine! Instead of correcting and complaining, let them see you worshiping, praising, and celebrating. In other words, be the change you would like to see in our culture.

"In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father," Matthew 5:16.

I pray that your Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a rich time of fellowship with others, and a deeper communion with God!

Scotty

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