Christmas time...

recieved this in an email this morning

A time of joy, harmony, and peace, or is it?

Years ago, instead of peace my home was filled with stress, rush, and fatigue. There never seemed to be enough time, money or energy to fulfill my expectations of what a “picture-perfect” Christmas celebration should be.

I remember one particular holiday season, I got this wonderful idea to kick our family celebrations up a notch. My children were no longer toddlers and I thought we were “ready for the challenge.” I had visions of all the things we could do. First, we would make our own Christmas cards, including a lovely family portrait. Next we would wrap our presents in style, and surely we would win the “best decorated house” neighborhood contest. Never tiring, we would make crafts, bake and decorate cookies for all of our family, friends and neighbors. Our home, a mini version of Christmas central, would be filled with all the sounds and all the aromas of Christmas. Peace, joy, and love would ooze from within...

Maybe the celebration would have gone better if I would’ve spent more time planning for it and less time daydreaming about it … or if I would have picked a few kid-friendly activities to enjoy instead of overwhelming my family with projects … and if my husband would not have lost his job right before Christmas!

I learned then that reality seldom matches my expectations, especially during the holidays. How can I be joyous, harmonious, peaceful, or even nice to my family during this busy and hectic season? I learned by painful experience that by simply doing a little homework before the “big test” comes you can preserve the true meaning of the season.

Let me share with you some practical pointers I’ve learned over the years, so that you and your family can enjoy the holidays “Heaven’s Style.”

Let go - Stuff in a big imaginary box all of your unrealistic or unattainable expectations for the holidays, and throw that box away!
Make a list - Gather your family to discuss the things you’d like to do during the holidays.
Check it twice - Calendar in hand, decide together what can realistically be done and jot it down on the family calendar or schedule. Decide ahead of time who will be in charge of, or helping with, each task.
Seek peace - Actively and diligently pursue those things that will guard the peace of your heart and home. Don’t allow yourself or your family to be so busy that you don’t have time to go to church, pray, or read your Bible during this time.
Remember - ‘tis the Season to celebrate! God the Father gave us the best gift in His Son. Let’s strive not to forget (nor let our families forget) what the most wonderful time of the year is all about.

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