“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”… or not. The holidays can be overwhelming or stressful for some people. Many people struggle with juggling all the extras that come along with the holidays. I also have to work at finding balance and staying focused on what’s most important. Here are some simple reminders that will help you have the most cheerful of holidays.
Dishing Up the Holiday CHEER
C – Come together! Community is important for the individual. Develop stronger relationships and start new ones. Get together with people who bring you joy and build you up in your purpose and faith.
H – Help others! Express thankfulness for what you have by giving to others in your own unique way. Simple acts of kindness become bigger when you do them together with a group of like-minded people. Show gratitude to people who have been a blessing in your life; bless them back.
E – Enjoy! See through the eyes of a child and get in touch with your inner child. Enjoy the holidays by expressing your own brand of cheer! Be creative. Be positive. Have fun!
E – Examine! Do some soul searching. Don’t let ‘sin’ or ‘missing the mark’ get in the way of your peace and joy. Facing relatives or friends that you are holding a grudge against or you have wronged, can be a big cause of anxiety. If someone or something comes to mind that needs your attention or repentance, take care of it!
R – Reflect, Renew and Refresh! Reflect on God’s goodness. Renew family traditions. Refresh your mind and let go of worries. Refresh your body with exercise, healthy food and by getting enough rest. Don’t over do it with too many holiday preparations. Be realistic about your time, finances and energy.
What Does Holiday Cheer Look Like?
The sweetest, most wonderful act of love this holiday season came from the cheerful and generous heart of my grand niece, Riley. Here is the short version of the story, in the words of her mom, my niece Erin…
“One night before bed last August she said she wanted to grow her hair for kids who don’t have any. She woke up today and said she couldn’t wait any longer because the sooner she cuts it, the sooner another child will have it. So, this afternoon she had 10 inches cut to donate to Locks Of Love! She was very nervous, but also very excited. I could not be prouder of my baby girl who did something very grown up today. Such a mitzvah during this season of giving!”
Riley’s special Hanukkah gift – donating her beautiful long hair to “Locks of Love”
♥ I am so proud of Riley and her unique example of cheerful giving! ♥
“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Jesus in Luke 18:17 & Mark 10:15)
Counting My Blessings
This season brought many precious moments with family and friends. There were several birthday celebrations, including my own BIG birthday! My mother even flew in from back East for the occasion.
“A Cheerful Heart Is A Continual Feast”!
Celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas is tradition in my family. So is going to see a Christmas show with friends. A few days ago we saw “Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013.” The show was fantastic! There was a nice mix of jazz, blues, classical and gospel music. The show featured both Hanukkah and Christmas songs. Along with Dave Koz, the other stars of the show were: Oleta Adams, Jonathan Butler and Keiko Matsui.
At a high point in the show Jonathan Butler had us sing a phrase from one of his songs to the people on our right and on or left. It was fun to break the ice with strangers and see their faces begin to light up. It was a little awkward at first but after awhile you could see the stress melting away.
I am filled with these words we sang together with the entertainers and the audience that night.
“Forget all you problems, forget all your worries, God will make a way. Forget all you problems, forget all your worries, it’s a brand new day”!
God did make a way for all of us through His Son, Jesus. For me, Christmas time is a time of joyful and grateful reflection of my Savior’s birth and all the blessings he brings. Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year when Jesus is the reason for the season!
I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas filled with love and a very healthy and happy New Year. ~ Linda
Bible Verses for Relieving Stress
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – Jesus (in John 14:27)
“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest'”? – Luke 12:22-26 ESV
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34
“But the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives.” – Mark 4:19 NCV
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:6-8
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” – Proverbs 12:25.
“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” -Psalm 34:4
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me’”? – Hebrews 13:6
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword”? – Romans 8:31-35 ESV
“You, dear children have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3: 22-23
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” -1 John 4:18 ESV
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:5-8
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” – Proverbs 12:25 ESV
“… Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” – Psalm 34:10
“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” – Titus 3:4-7
” Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory.” – Romans 5: 1-2
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105
“… God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” – 1 John 1:5
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:39
“By standing firm you will gain life.” – Luke 21:19
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3
“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” – Matthew 6:33 NCV
“…put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 131:1
“May the God of hope fill you waith all joy and peace.” – Romans 15:13
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