Christmas is almost here. Some are glad and some are wishing it was already over. One week left until the big day. It is an awesome time of the year, but it brings a lot of pressure for some. There is so much spending and preparation. Some have little time and less money, but somehow, we get through it and life is good.
So, this week for my column, I have decided to offer some tips that might be helpful for you this time of the year. These may be some things you need or want to think about. Or, perhaps, you already have. Anyway, here they are.
Christmas is a holiday celebrated around the world. Of course, not everyone celebrates it, but there are millions who do. It is a time for the world to reflect on Christ. Who knows when His birthday was? I don’t. But I do know He had one and December 25th is as good a day as any. Ponder the birth of the Christ. Ponder its meaning to us. Think of how much God must have loved us to send His only son to walk the face of the earth, to die, raise, ascend and work in behalf of our salvation. Do not let the event pass without remembering.
It is a time for family. Make the most of it. You will likely see or hear from family members you haven’t seen or heard from since last Christmas. Some, perhaps longer. It is a wonderful time for families to get together and share bonding time.
Be careful to not let the pressure of preparation and expense ruin the occasion. Overspending will put a real cramp in Christmas. Not only Christmas, but the rest of the year while you are paying for all the stuff you could not afford to buy. Who says you have to give everyone a gift? Draw in a little tighter to the closest of family. You and your guest will be just as blessed by having been together as they will with exchanging gifts. Remember that the huge meal you are preparing is a magnificent gift within itself. And, if others share in the meal by bringing a dish or two, they too, get to share in the giving.
With all the hustle and bustle of the day together, do not forget to spend some quality time with those you love and those who love you. That is the real blessing. Think about God coming to this earth and spending time with His creation. That was an awesome expression of love. He devoted Himself to us and taught us to do the same to others. There is no better gift than spending time with those whom you love.
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. As we get older we go to the picture albums or the picture box more often. It helps us to remember when little Bob was such a tiny tike, especially when he grows into a man. It is a joy to look back and see the changes in the people we love and adore. The lack of a shutter click could be a memory lost forever. How many times have you been motivated to pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time just because you saw them in an old picture? Also, remember that those who are not yet born into your family or those who are too small to know will be able to be introduced to other family members though those photos. If you can, take a group picture and make copies for everyone who is in it. It will be a great treasure for you and for them in the future.
Watch “A Christmas Story” and laugh as Ralphie is trying to convince the world that he needs a Red Rider BB Gun. Smile as Ralphie’s dad win’s the prized Leg Lamp and how the Leg Lamp mysteriously gets broke. Watch the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and enjoy reliving the story of George Baily who gets to understand the true meaning of Christmas through his guardian Angel, Clarence.
Do things that are fun to reduce some of the pressure of the crowd. We exchange a “White Elephant” gift and it is always a trip. We pick a gift that cost no more than ten dollars. Boys buy boy gifts and girls buy girl gifts and mark them “boy” or “girl.” You count how many people are present and participating. Write a number on a slip of paper for each one. Put them in a hat or bowl and let each one draw a number. Then you go in order around the room beginning with the number one. That person gets to pick a wrapped gift. Then go to number two. This person can take whichever gift he or she wants that has already been unwrapped or choose a wrapped gift. If they take yours, you can open another one immediately. This will continue until the last number is drawn. Nothing is secure until the last number is drawn and that person makes their choice. It is absolutely fantastic fun. You have to make it known that you are going to do this ahead of time, so pick up the phone and call everyone who is coming. You will be glad you did. Everyone enjoys it.
Go out and buy the Pastor at the First Christian Church some UK tickets…. You know it’s better to give than receive (HINT HINT) LOL!!!!!!
Whatever you do, make sure that the day, when it is over is a happy day. Just remember all the happy Christmas days you have experienced in your life and do everything you can to make this one better than any of those. Have a great Christmas. God loves every one of us and will always find ways to show us. He has given us His love so that we will know how, from His example, to show our love for others. Be safe and enjoy this wonderful time to be together.
God bless and go Cats!
Rev. Scott Murphy Murphy is the Pastor at the First Christian Church in Russellville.