STRESSED or Blessed at Christmas

What ever happened to a silent night. If we have the right focus and mindset it really can be the most wonderful time of the year. If not, all the joy & peace are taken out!

Thoughts to Remember... 

TV commercials showing the cleanest house, the most beautiful tree, perfect table settings, professional decorators, perfect lighting that can make any room look attractive–an overall blissful scene. We can’t all be like Martha Stewart. Have grace for yourself, temper your expectations! In fact, the messier your house–the more it is like the nativity–it was in a stable!

Symbols or Distractions... 
The Tree, let it remind your kids about the cross! Jesus was nailed to the cross to pay for our sins.

The Lights, look how dark the tree would be without lights, Jesus is the light of the world. 

“O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light”

The Angels are God’s messengers proclaiming the good news!

The Holly has a beautiful red berry that can represent the blood of Jesus and sharp thorny edges that remind us of the cross.

The Ivy has such a beautiful shiny leaf but the point is very sharp, representing the pain of sin.

The Candy Cane is made in the shape of a shepherds staff representing Jesus our Good Shepherd and if turned upside down looks like the letter J for Jesus. The Red represents the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to wash us from our sins. The White is a symbol of the holiness and purity of sinless Jesus, and the power to sanctify and make righteous sinful man; “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “Come now, and let us reason together, Says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

The Presents, JESUS IS THE BEST GIFT! What does He want? Your heart! It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Carolingthe singing of those so very meaningful songs of old can stir your soul.

Old Saint Nick, I used to hate that this person took away from the true meaning of Christmas until I learned there was really such a person. His name was Nicholas and he inherited a lot of money. He used it to help the poor and pay their debts. He loved God and as a result was persecuted for his faith. Look up the true story!

Good Christmas Movies like the old-time film, The Grinch, who became born again to understand that Christmas came without all the trappings and gifts! In the movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus shares the Christmas account when all the kids forgot and in A Christmas Carol, Scrooge finally got it after being scared out of his wits. One of the most moving statements in this Christmas tale is by Marley's Ghost when despairing over "life's opportunities misused." Scrooge, trembling with fear and beginning to share in Marley's guilt, says, ”But you were always a good man of business, Jacob." Upon which the Ghost cried out in anguish, “Business! Mankind was my business!” A great message for us all! 

The Old Christmas Classic Songs as the words to these amazing spiritual songs could spark a revival or melt or gladden a sad heart...

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight!” 

“God and sinners reconciled”

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King, 
let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing”

(When it seems least like Christmas due to sadness, or the loss of a loved one, that’s when it’s most like Christmas) Look at these words...

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day, Their old familiar carols play,
And mild and sweet their songs repeat, Of peace on earth good will to men
And in despair I bowed my head, There is no peace on earth I said
for hate is strong and mocks the song, Of peace on earth, good will to men..
Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail–
With peace on earth, good will to men”

“Handels Messiah!”
The audience gives a standing ovation
at this moving account of Gods redeeming sinful man!

Let us not forget...

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

The shopping the spending, the giving the getting
the hustling and bustling, who was I forgetting?
Aunt Mable?
My neighbors?
The twins or my Pastor?
If I forget them...
it would be a disaster!
I got in my car
to go back to the store, hold out my list,
and checked it once more.
A nativity scene on a lawn caught my eye.
I paused for a moment then started to cry.
I suddenly knew Who it was I had missed,
the One who should always be first on my list!
If only I stopped for a moment to reason
I’d had seen it was JESUS
the heart of the season.

Blessings in Him, 
Karen Pulley