20 December 2016

 

Christmas is with us once again, and we hope that you're able
to make this holiday season one of your most special ever!
We thank you very much for sharing this planet with us, and
we wish you a peaceful and fulfilling season filled with love.

Thriving through the Holidays
Jim Rohn

The Life of a Child
Joni Eareckson Tada

The Joy of Gift-Giving
tom walsh

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We have plenty of quotations and passages on Christmas available
for you on our Christmas pages--please enjoy them!

   

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.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christmas 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

The earth 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.

Phillips Brooks

  

  
Thriving through the Holidays
Jim Rohn

The 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.

For 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.

Why is that? Probably a lot can be laid at the feet of how fast paced our times are, but that isn't all.

I 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:

1. Be Temperate.
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 parties. 

But 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 offer.

2. 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 point.

3. 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 little easier.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Friends, 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.

May you experience the very best this holiday season and move into January better than ever!

  

Living Life Fully, the e-zine
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The Life of a Child
Joni Eareckson Tada

Ah, 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 responsibility.  

After 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 simple."

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 tonight. 
  
And 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 heart.

As a child of God, you have every reason to be at peace.
  

  
Love Is Christmas
Sara Bareilles

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.
  
Let 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.

Madeline Morse
  

  

Eyes Wide Open
tom walsh

The Joy of Gift-Giving

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 them enough.

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.

To 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.

I 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.

I 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.

Giving 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.

Sigrid Undset
  




The expanded edition of Just for Today from Living Life Fully Publications:
Over a year of "Just for Today" passages from our popular e-mail daily quotations, and our expanded edition includes over 180 reflections on those thoughts.  Full of ideas and focal points that you can use to help to make your day brighter and more fulfilling as you focus on different ways of giving and awareness of the blessings in your life!  Click on the image to the left for the print version.    
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Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.

Dale Evans Rogers


Thanks for joining us today!  Happy Holidays!

  

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Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder.  The capacity
for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty,
for in it are born our art, our science, our religion.

Ralph Sockman

   

   

  

   

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