Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of
kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit,
become a child again at Christmas-time.
Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it
warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart. . . filled it,
too, with melody that would last forever.
Bess Streeter Aldrich
has grown old with its burden of care
But at Christmas it always is young,
The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air,
When the song of angels is sung.
through the Holidays
holidays are upon us; a time of celebration and joy. I
love the last days of November through the beginning of
the New Year. The pure magic of the holidays is something
that I anticipate and enjoy each and every year.
some though, the holidays have lost the joy and excitement
they at other times have had. The pace of life has grown
so fast - much faster than those first holidays I remember
in my life - that some people don't enjoy the times they
get to spend with their family and friends during what is
supposed to be days filled with joy and peace.
is that? Probably a lot can be laid at the feet of how
fast paced our times are, but that isn't all.
believe our holiday times should be wonderful and filled
with lasting and enjoyable moments and memories. So how
can we ensure that we come out of the holidays in January
with great memories of the past month? Here are six
thoughts that will help you experience the holidays the
way they were intended to be experienced:
Holidays can be days of excess for many -- too much food,
too many cookies and treats. Too much chocolate, schedules
that are too busy. One thing that will help you enjoy the
holidays is to be temperate. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the
treats. Enjoy the busy schedule of activities and
also be disciplined enough to know when to hold back, when
to say, "No". When we go overboard we regret it
and loose the opportunity to fully experience that moment.
But when we enjoy a little and refrain from going too far,
then we can enjoy all that little piece of time has to
Lower Your Expectations.
Much of the frustration people experience from the
holidays is from setting their expectations too high. They
expect too much from friends or family, and when they
don't get what they want, they get frustrated. They expect
presents to be perfect and when they aren't, they get
frustrated or disappointed. Instead of having huge
expectations this holiday season, just take it as it comes
and enjoy what you can. And this brings me to my next
Enjoy What You Can and Ignore the Rest.
This holiday season, go with an attitude of knowing that
things will be what they will be. You can't control other
people or their actions. If a family member pushes the
limits of your patience, ignore that and instead focus on
how much you can enjoy the time you have with other family
members. If things don't go perfectly - which they won't -
then enjoy what you can and let the rest slide. You will
feel a lot better about life if you can take all things a
Stay Out of Debt.
Debt is a killer. It will steal your enjoyment of life. Be
sure to stay within your financial boundaries this holiday
season. The last thing you want is to start the New Year
with a deeper burden financially. Know where you are
financially and stay within those limits. You don't have
to impress anyone, just buy gifts that you can afford and
express your heartfelt feeling in the giving of the gift.
Take Time for Yourself.
Be sure that no matter how busy you get, that you take
time for yourself. Take time to read. Take a long bath if
that relaxes you. Take a walk. Spend some time of quiet in
front of a fire. Don't rush through the holidays and sap
all of your energy. Your mind and body need to be
reenergized, so be sure to take time to do so.
Focus on Your Spiritual Life.
Ultimately, no matter what tradition you come from, the
holidays are historically days in which we focus on the
spiritual. Men and women are created with a natural draw
toward spiritual life. However, our culture today tends to
stay away from a focus on the spiritual, and that has even
crept into our holidays. Be sure to place an emphasis on
building your spiritual life and growing in that area.
This will help keep you grounded and able to deal with
anything that may come your way.
we are coming to the end of another year. This time of
year is another chance to remember the important truths of
life and to enjoy time with dear friends and family.
you experience the very best this holiday season and move
into January better than ever!
Life Fully, the e-zine
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are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
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whatever you disagree
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Life of a Child
the life of a child. To sleep peacefully,
wrapped warm and cuddly in a soft blanket.
Babies hardly have a care in the world.
Hardly a worry in their little heads.
Maybe that's because babies instinctively know
that worries and cares are not their
all, they know their mom will be there, tending
and caring to their every need. Such
protection--relaxing in the confidence that they
are safe from any harm. Such rest--assured
that someone is always watching over them.
No wonder they sleep peacefully.
A child's life! Doesn't it make you a
little envious? Don't you wish you could
relax as easily, putting your worries and cares
to rest? Wouldn't it be nice to have the
confidence that someone was watching out for
you, tending to your every need? Caring
for you like a parent?
If that sounds good, it might be because you've
got a lot of "adult" things pressing
on you this Christmas season. You're
anxious about picking up those last few gifts,
you feel hassled and stretched by competing
family demands, you're pressured to make it to
that office party on time, you feel like you're
holding your family together like ribbon around
a package. Or worse yet, perhaps you feel
lonely or forgotten in the middle of all the
festivities. Something dark or hurtful has
shoved its way into your life, and peace of mind
has slipped out a back window. You feel
empty, hurt, or even rejected.
A child's life. . . doesn't sound so bad.
Do you look at all those pictures of Jesus on
the front of your Christmas cards--the ones of
Him sleeping peacefully in His mother's
arms--and think to yourself, "If only it
were that easy. If only life were that
Maybe it is that simple.
Your loving, heavenly Father hasn't forgotten
His care for you, especially in the middle of
all the Christmas rush. Especially when
you feel pressured and anxious. He still
sees you as His child. He longs to wrap
you tenderly in His care. You're protected
by the strength of His arms, and He wants you to
have confidence that you are safe in His
will. Rest and relax in Him. He will
never leave you. Sleep in peace
if you feel far from Him right now, stop and
take time to talk to Him--just like a child to a
parent. It's Christmas, a good time to let
all the wonder and delight of a child fill your
As a child of God, you have every reason to be
I don't care if the house is packed,
or the strings of light are broken.
I don't care if the gifts are wrapped,
or there's nothing here to open.
Love is not a toy
And no paper will conceal it.
Love is simply joy that I'm home.
Let love lead us.
Love is Christmas.
Why so scared that you'll mess it up?
When perfection keeps you haunted.
All we need is your best my love.
That's all anyone ever wanted.
Love is how we do.
Let no judgment overrule it.
Love I look to you, and I sing:
Let love lead us.
Love is Christmas.
Christmas not become a thing
Merely of merchant's trafficking,
Of tinsel, bell and holly wreath
And surface pleasure, but beneath
The childish glamour, let us find
Nourishment for heart and mind.
Let us follow kinder ways
Through our teeming human maze,
And help the age of peace to come.
The Joy of
I'll be the
first to admit that in our society we often tend to go overboard
with our gift-giving, especially during the Christmas
holidays. Many people use Christmas as an opportunity to
try to compensate for wrongs or neglect that has happened over
the course of the year, and many people try to compensate for
their own low sense of self-worth by spending inordinate amounts
of money on gifts with the subconscious hope that people will
like us more or admire us more if the gifts that we buy impress
But most of us
just love the opportunity to try to figure out the best gift for
each person, the gift that will somehow be just perfect and
allow that person to have something that's a perfect fit.
I love to go to a store and just walk around and find things
that aren't expensive that I know someone would like. I
love to sit down and try to figure out just what I could make to
give to someone to show that person that I somehow know him or
her well, that I know what kinds of things he or she likes.
me, that's the most important part of giving gifts at Christmas,
and I spend all year preparing for it. Just how well do I
know my step-daughters? Can I go to the store without
asking them what they want and find something that will
"fit" them well? I can do so only if I pay
attention to them all year long and listen to what they have to
say about everything--school and friends and music and movies
and whatever else they talk about. The same goes for my
wife--she talks to me all year long, but how well do I
listen? Do I know her well enough to be able to get her or
make her just the right present for Christmas? And my
co-workers? Can I find a small something that's very
inexpensive that they'll like to have? Only if I have a
good idea of who they are and what they like.
know that personally, I'd much rather receive a scarf or a book
or a CD that says that a person has thought about me and my
tastes than an expensive watch or piece of electronics that says
only that someone had money to burn, and they burned it on
me. I'd rather see the money go to something much more
useful like a soup kitchen or a children's charity than to be
"burned" on a gift that I may or may not use.
don't give out tons of gifts. I don't consider myself to
be Santa Claus, and I don't feel that it's my responsibility to
make other people "happy" by giving them things.
But I do like to share, and I do like to brighten other people's
days or moments with a special something. Sometimes that
something can be encouragement or a compliment, and sometimes it
can be helping out when they need help. At Christmas it
can be a small token, a small something that shows that I care
about who they are as people.
gifts shouldn't be about trying to make someone happy with
material gifts, and it shouldn't be about trying to impress
people with our taste or our willingness to spend a lot of money
on presents. To me, the best gifts that I can give are
those that say "I know you because you're worth getting to
know." And once Christmas is over, I have almost an
entire year to prepare for next year, getting to know the people
in my life, learning more about who they are and what they like.
|And when we give
each other Christmas gifts in His name,
let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon
and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains
and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has
given us all green things and everything that blossoms and
bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have
misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our
sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.
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time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.
for joining us today! Happy Holidays!
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