Christmas Focus

Christmas Focus
This Christmas will be different for many people for many reasons, but the biggest may be the lack of finances to pay for a normal Christmas. Many are out of work or are working hard to pay off excessive debt. Knowing that you are "supposed" to buy presents for people can put a lot of stress on a person or even cause depression.
That's the problem; Christmas is not supposed to be a time of stress but a time of rejoicing. This is a season of celebration. No matter what the retailers tell you, the reason and celebration of Christmas is the birth of Christ, not giving or receiving gifts. We give gifts as a reflection of God's perfect gift of his perfect son to be the sacrifice for our sins. Christmas is not about what you get or what you give.
Be different this year
This year is a perfect year to be different and everyone will understand. We are having to be creative in what we give and also reducing the amount of gifts and the price of the gift. Times are tight in our family. So instead of being depressed about what we can't afford to give, we are working on focusing on what we CAN give. We can give ourselves. We are emphasizing relationships, spreading good cheer and thankfulness. This Christmas we are opening our home to more people. It will be a pot luck dinner and we will host it on Christmas eve. Make this Christmas a time of thankfulness and serving others instead of focusing on material things.
Having a positive atttitude
Here are a few things you can do to keep your attitude positive and positively effect others.
1) Count your blessings - no matter how bad you have it, you live in America. There is no better country or better opportunity anywhere else. Focus on what you DO have, not what you don't have.
2) Focus on others - do random acts of kindness. Focus on having a cheerful, positive attitude. Make that attitude your gift at work. Be happy. Take time to visit other people, the elderly or even someone from your past. Listen... Listen instead of talking. Many people just want to be heard.
3) Make a new tradition of helping someone in need- Give to the Salvation Army or adapt an Angel from Angel Tree. Better yet, go serve at the Salvation Army, local food bank, your church or somewhere else that the truly needy are being helped. Go serve where the person can't pay you back.
4) Be creative in your gift giving. My wife makes candy boxes (gorp) and her friends love it. Bake something or give an act of service such as baby sitting, helping with yard work, etc.
I Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Since God gave his most precious gift, give your most precious gift this year; give yourself in service to another. Give of your time and attention. Get your family involved in the project. Take the focus of you and place it on someone else.
The verse also encourages us to stand firm, be immovable. Hard times will come and go and so will good times. Our service and attitude toward God and others should not depend on the economy nor our personal circumstances. It is amazing when we take the focus off our personal circumstances and place our focus on serving others, our situation doesn't seem so bad.
Merry Christmas

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