Friday, November 28, 2014

Don't stop being thankful {List of helpful ways}

As I typed the title of this post, I sang it to the tune of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.  Now I can't stop singing it!  Be thankful that you are on that side of the computer screen as God did not gift me with a pleasurable singing voice! :)

I'm always perplexed as I hear the stories from Black Friday.  The pushing, yelling, grabbing and anger that takes place baffles me.  Wasn't it just 24 hours earlier that Americans were talking about what they are thankful for.  Maybe those mean shoppers didn't have a list??

While most of us won't behave that way, we can get caught up in the commercialism and secular hype of Christmas.  We feel stressed about buying gifts, attending Christmas parties in the perfect outfit, and gaining pounds as we partake in the various festivities.  These things can leave us looking forward to flipping the page of the calendar and seeing the word January.

I don't know about you, but I want to relish in Christmas this year.  I want to enjoy buying gifts for those I love.  I want to attend parties and be relaxed.  I want to take in every single day of December and look to Christ as I do it.

I have come up with a list of things that can help us stay focused on Jesus and actually enjoy the month of December.  Whether you do one of these things or all of them, I hope you will experience full peace and joy this season.

*Start your day thanking Jesus for various things.  Keep a journal and challenge yourself to record a specific number of blessings each day. 

*Create a list of gifts you want to buy and for whom.  Set goals for dates you want these gifts purchased.  Check the gifts off of the list once you have bought them.  You will like seeing the progress.

*Pamper yourself as you shop with a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or whatever makes you feel festive.

*Gather with your family and make a list of people you can bless during the month of December.  This list may include neighbors that you bake cookies for, a homeless shelter you volunteer at, a family you adopt through a local school, a family member that is having a tough time, etc.  

*Make dates with your family to watch specific Christmas movies, drive around and look at Christmas lights, and make/buy 2014 ornaments.  Write these dates on your calendar in ink and stick to them.

*Have a Christmas music dance party.  Turn up the tunes, gather your loved ones, and bust some moves!

*Send a gift to someone in the mail anonymously.  It can be a $5 gift card.  Anything you send will be fun for you and will bless the recipient.

*Read a Christmas book.  Set aside time each day, even if it's just 10 minutes, and take in a good book.  This type of book is usually dessert for hearts!

*Snuggle on the couch with your family and read as many Christmas storybooks as you can.  As you do this, memories from previous years will invade your hearts and the time together will be priceless. Our family still does this and our kids are 18, 14, and 11.  

*Read the story of Jesus's birth in the gospels.  Soak in the birth of your Savior and remind yourself what this season is all about.  Reading through commentaries along with my Bible always ignites my passion.  You can find various commentaries online.

Happy Christmas season, my friends.  May you be a blessing and be blessed-