ADVENT: MERRY CHRISTMAS
By Sally Tippett Rains
I wish you joy and happiness on Christmas. May God bless you richly. If you are physically alone remember this– you are never alone. God is here with us and I am here for you. If I can pray for you please let me know.
King James Version of Luke 2:1-20- The Birth of Christ
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” — Luke 2:14
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” — President Calvin Coolidge
One Last Thing
Soak in all the peace and specialness of Christmas Day. It only comes once a year and there really is something magical about it. It’s special because cool things happen. People help people. People love each other. Kids who are in the hospital are often sent home for Christmas.
There have been cease-fires during war including the famous time in World War II where during a cease fire, American troops began singing Silent Night and soon they heard “the enemy” singing the same song in German. Shortly after that the war started back up. But for one special day we seem to be able to look past our problems and find some happiness.
And for some, death may happen at Christmas. But even death– though very sad– lets us know how truly close we are to our Heavenly Father. I don’t think I have ever felt closer to God than the moment my mother’s soul went up to Heaven. There is a peacefulness that a Christian person feels knowing they are meeting the Lord and all the others they have been missing. If you lost someone this Christmas my heart goes out to you and I will light a candle and say a prayer for you. As I always say, life is not always happy and in fact sometimes it stinks, but if we are going to live on this earth we must learn to find every little blessing we can — even in a bad situation.
Other things that happen at Christmas– Jewish people often volunteer to work so their Christian counterparts can take off, crime seems to go down, hearts seem to be nostalgic, sometimes even sad, but we generally stop and think about things. Everything seems to stop… for just one day. Just this one special, blessed day.
Then…the next day after we celebrate Christmas the stores are open and we head out for the sales. We start thinking about what is coming next for us at work. We go back to our negative thinking and stressful way of life. It’s like when you get a massage. It feels so great and you are so relaxed but as soon as it’s over you go back to your hectic life.
What if we actually made an effort to keep that peaceful feeling of Christmas in our hearts– at least for a few days.
Sometimes it takes some reminding for us to get in the habit of trying to live in tranquility and peace. One time, the day after I got a great massage I woke up and said to myself, “I wonder how long I can stay in this peaceful attitude. I’m going to keep trying to have that calm peaceful feeling and feel the effects of that massage as long as I can.”
For several days I told myself that and it worked. Then it all went out the window when someone said something that hurt my feelings. I immediately went to the negative. I should have realized that this person was not feeling well or experiencing stress in their own life so I should not have taken it personally. I should have helped them, but as we all do, I took it personally and turned the negative onto myself.
Think about it the next time someone says or does something that hurts your feelings or lashes out at you for seemingly no reason. Instead of taking it all on you and getting your feelings hurt or feeling bad—try to think what could be the reason for their actions
Get out of your own pity party and ask yourself, what would make him or her act out like that? Maybe things are going badly at their job, maybe they aren’t feeling well, maybe someone else dumped on them, maybe they are mad at themselves for gaining a few pounds.
Maybe they are having a hard time managing the situations they are facing. Or maybe it is as simple as they are all caught up in the whirlwind of stress that life brings these days.
Any way you look at it, your life will be better if you have more peace in it.
How can we live a happy life– a life of contentment– if we are in the midst of chaos? It is our choice. All the people I included in my book “Choose Happy” went out on a limb and shared their stories here are survivors. They are out there living their lives and striving for excellence.
There are two types of people– and you make your choice which one you will be– those who make up excuses why they can’t do something and those who keep trying until they do it. I ended my book with this illustration about George Washington Carver and I’ll end the series of blogs with it:
George Washington Carver said, “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” We have all heard of George Washington Carver– he invented peanut butter. Turns out he was a scientist and botanist who worked on sweet potatoes and peanuts to come up with more uses for them. This helped poor southern farmers vary their crops and improve their diet.
But guess what? He was born into slavery in 1864 in Diamond Grove, Missouri– a very small town near Joplin. Getting a start like that, and with 11 brothers and sisters could have given him a very different story to his life but he didn’t give up. He was separated from his family and raised at first by a family who had had slaves but after the Civil War they taught him to read and write. With no family to depend on he was lucky to have the skill to read and write as he did odd jobs to be able to attend college. He eventually graduated from the State Agricultural College in Ames, Iowa and even got his Masters Degree.
People who believe in themselves and have a positive attitude can achieve amazing things. You can too. It’s time for you to make up your mind that you will find contentment in your situation– no matter what it is.
The year 2020 is just a number. It wasn’t all bad and 2021 won’t be the “be all to end all.” But if we face our future with a positive heart and the will to live a happy, joyful life– then no matter what we are facing, every day is a new beginning.
I believe in you.
Thanks for reading. Choose Happy.
Sally Tippett Rains is a motivational speaker, inspirational writer and author of 13 books, including Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation.She is the volunteer Executive Director of Rainbows for Kids and content manager for STLSportsPage.com.
Need Some Inspiration? Check out “Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation”
Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation by Sally Tippett Rains with Foreword by Dreama Denver is filled with inspirational stories of people who have faced devastating situations in their lives but despite the tough times, they have found a way to live a happy life. The contributors’ secrets of how they do it, along with beautiful comforting photos, motivational sayings, suggestions, and even some whimsical ideas will help the reader who is faced with a challenge to realize that whatever you are facing, you can get through it: Choose Happy.