Loving, Laughing, and Listening During the Holiday Season

I have a very special friend named Sharon Sparling and we have been prayer partners for 32 years. When our children were small we prayed every day over the phone at 9am. Then when I moved to Fox Island and it was long distance we called on Mondays and Fridays. Now since both our husbands are retired and they travel much, we catch each other when we can. But at least twice a year around our birthdays we get together for a long lunch, face to face and really catch up.

I thought of how very much that is sometimes like our relationhip with the Lord. We talk often to each other but often just as if we were talking long distance and had to make it as brief as possible. But how wonderful it would be to just have a day to spend with the Lord, loving Him, and listening to Him, and reminisce over how faithful He has been in the past and the miracles of the present.

I thought of Revelation 2:3-5 in relation to the Christmas season. It says, “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first.”

Often in regard to the Christmas season, we are holding up, and enduring but are we “loving, laughing, and listening” with the joy and TOTAL abandonment He would have us do?

John 10:10 says: “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Sometimes we get a little mixed up and think it says:

I CAME… that you might have a nervous breakdown celebrating my birth.

Why is it that ONLY women seem to experience this? Children love Christmas and men seem to float through it enjoying it all. Perhaps we are adding some burdens to Christmas that God didn’t intend us to carry. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. If it gets heavy, then it is our additions that make it “not easy to carry”.

I CAME…. that you might run up huge bills on your charge accounts in December and try to pay them off all year.

Is there an easier way for you to handle gift exchanges? Have you considered giving less expensive gifts or not so many to family and friends? Have you considered drawing names with your larger family or among the children in your family? Could you stop some gift exchanges that have become a tradition but have lost their original purpose? Perhaps others are thinking the same things and would be grateful for you to the FIRST to bring it up. What about joining a “Christmas Club”? That is a really old fashioned idea, but comes as a great blessing the 1st of November and helps you stay within a certain amount for spending.

I CAME…. that you might gorge yourself on goodies all December and go on a crash diet in January.

Do we use the holidays to eat and gorge on things we wouldn’t eat all year and get “sugar blue” afterward? Could we use moderation even in this area ALSO remembering that self-control is a fruit of the spirit?

I CAME…. that you might drive your family crazy and make yourself a nervous wreck- making the most beautiful gifts and wrapping the most gorgeous packages and decorating the house in the most beautiful way.

We tell our children “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” but sometimes aren’t our eyes bigger than our time? As we see holiday magazines and drool over the wonderful food and decorations and go to bazars and think “Oh, I could make that for $2.00”. And go shopping and think, “I could make that dress for my daughter for $10.00 or that one for myself for $20”. And we begin a night and day sewing and baking and making craft crusade that drives our family crazy. Try to remember it is great to make things, but don’t do it in December. Reserve that time for celebrating with your family and enjoying the holidays.

I CAME….that you might be so busy in December that you have no time to Love or Laugh or Listen. I Timonthy 5:8 says “If anyone does not provide for his relatives for his relatives and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Do we sometimes feel that the “end does justify the means” and it doesn’t matter how cross we are with our own family- how many feelings we hurt- how many “leave me alones” we say, JUST SO on Christmas Eve or say everything is perfect. Your house is beautiful and your are all prepared and you smile as you say Merry Christmas to your guests and they are made welcome.

Could this have anything to do with what James is talking about in James 1:7-8 about being double minded? “For the person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.”

I CAME…. That you might collapse in January recovering from shooting pains in your neck and back and arms because of lack of sleep, overwork and tension- to recover completely in time to start all over again next December.

Is there a better way? Does Jesus have a better plan?

Let us look at how they celebrate the first Christmas.

What did the angels do?

Luke 2:13 tells us- They praised God, saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

We too can praise God and give Him glory and bring peace to our family and neighbors and make him well pleased. He is pleased when there is peace.

I shall strive for Peace for Christmas.

Psalms 133:1 “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”

How did the Shepherds celebrate?

  1. They listened. Luke 2:8-12 They heard the good news. Oh, that I might listen and really hear.
  2. They went and found Jesus. Luke 2:15-16. Oh, that I might find Him in simplicity.
  3. They shared what they had seen Luke 2:17. Oh, might I share the good news with those who haven’t heard- that they might begin to wonder, and perhaps start on their own search of finding him.

What did the Wise Men do?

They saw the star and followed it and rejoice exceedingly. Matt 2:9-10. Oh, that I  might see the Star of David and that I might rejoice exceedingly and follow the Start of David. Revelation 22:16 “I Jesus have sent my angel to you with the testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”

We often see them saying “Wise men still seek Him.” Let us continue to seek Him with all our heart. II Chronicles 16:11 “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.”

Matt 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.”

Make a list of the things “you” want to do and then SEEK the Lord and ask his advice.

Are we sometimes like blind pharisees that we are so wrapped up in tradition that we miss Jesus.

What did Mary so?

  1. She was obedient to what was asked of her. Luke 1:38. Oh, that I might be obedient to God and do what He is asking me to do this Christmas season. First listening to get that direction and then moving on it.
  2. She pondered all these things in her heart. Luke 2:19. Oh, that I might take time to ponder. To think of what His birth really meant- to me- to the world- that I might make those quiet moments in which to ponder and restore my soul.

What did Joseph do?

He was obedient and did what the Lord told him, not full of understanding but bewildered and fearful, but he did obey.

Oh, Lord might I obey- even when I am bewildered and fearful. Might I obey this Christmas season and not be fearful- knowing that you are in control.


IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO HAVE A HAPPY CHILDHOOD. If you wish you could have done this as child, or always wanted to do that—DO IT NOW. Become as a little child and enjoy all the little things you wished you had as a child. Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.”


Do something JUST FOR JOY.

Put a candle or a sprig of holly on your table and give your kids a special hug.

Jump on the davenport or turn a somersault on the lawn. Have some fun.

Have a special date with your husband.

Don’t let this season be a time of “I’ll be glad when its over”. Enjoy each moment.

LOVE the Lord- your family- the people the Lord puts on your heart.

LAUGH- at yourself- with your children and family and rejoice in the Lord.

LISTEN – to your children- to your husband and to others, but mostly to God. Take time to listen.




Finding the Hidden Jewels of Christmas

The first jewel is the PEARL OF GREAT PRICE – Jesus.

Matthew 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who on finding one pearls of great value went and sold all that he has and bought it.”

The second jewel is the SAPPHIRE

James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask God, who gives to all men (and women) generously and without reproaching, and it will be given to him.”

Oh, do women need wisdom during the Christmas season. So many decisions to make – so many people to TRY and keep happy.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

Young Mamas – This is a time to make traditions

Mama-in-laws – This is also a time to break traditions

But young mamas remember also that the way you treat your parents especially during this holiday time is the example you are setting for your children and the way they will treat you when you are a grandma.

The third is a BASKET OF JEWELS – The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

Don’t give up the Fruit of the Spirit for the Fruit of your Labors.

For the Following:

The most beautifully decorated house

Magnificent outdoor Lights

Hand made gifts for many

All kinds of baking

All uniquely wrapped gifts

Beautiful Christmas tree

Friends for dinner

The special day planned perfectly!!

Have we given up the Fruit of the Spirit and become:





Unkind – especially to those in our home.

Selfish – thinking of what WE desire for a perfect Christmas.

Unfaithful – to basic principals of our faith, in order to celebrate Jesus’s birth


Uncontrolled – with our credit card, our temper or our eating.

In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” He did not say “He came” to make us a nervous wreck in December trying to celebrate his birth.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said some wonderful words, that I think can be especially meaningful for women during the Christmas holiday. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Is your burden heavy? Especially right now during these days before Christmas? If so, perhaps you are carrying more than Jesus would have you carry. Maybe some of that burden is of your own doing not his? If so, take him at his word and “Come to Him” and find rest for your souls. Don’t let the cares of the world, the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. (Mark 4:19)

The last jewel I shall call a DIAMOND.

Our “diamond” can be found in Psalm 62: 5-6 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

And it is to help us in “unfulfilled expectations”. Hidden deep in the Christmas story is a message to help us with this. Sometimes our life is not as we expected it would be:

My husband has faults I never saw before marriage.

Married life just isn’t what I dreamed as a child.

I thought children were a reward from the Lord, sometimes mine feel like a punishment.

I studied years to have this position job wise, and now it seems empty.

I had such a happy marriage and never expected to be a widow so young.

I thought the senior years were supposed to be ‘golden’. Mine aren’t, I don’t have enough money to travel and am lonely.

How can the Christmas story help us with these expectations? What did the Jews expect? They expected a King who would execute justice and righteousness in the land. The reality was a baby born in the manger.

They expected a King to deliver them from Roman rule. The reality was that Jesus came to deliver them from their sins.

What did Mary expect? A messiah, but not to be the mother of the Messiah.

Can we be like Mary and say, “For with God nothing is impossible.” Luke 1:37 and verse 38, “let it be according to your word.”

Can we believe the words also of Elizabeth in Luke 1:45, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

If you have found the Pearl of Great Price then you claim Romans 8:28 with assurance. “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”

If you don’t know the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ you can be praying this simple prayer. If you do, this will be the most joyous Christmas you have ever experienced!

References to explain this: Romans 3:23-24, Romans 5:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13, John 1:12, 1John 1:9, Isaiah 61:10

Hidden Lessons From Christmas

What hidden lessons can we learn from Christmas? Our expectations are often different from God’s, just like it was with the Jews prior to Jesus’ birth.

The Expectation: The Jews expected a King. Mary expected a Messiah.

Both represent power. But the reality was that Jesus was born in manger. Luke 2:11 & 12 “For to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

The Reality: Jesus came to deliver the Jews from their sins. God used Mary to bring forth the Messiah.

How can we apply this to our lives? Do you have certain expectations for…. your husband? kids? home? lifestyle? job? ect…

The reality of these expectations is often different than what we had planned. What can we lean from Christmas to help us with the reality of our expectations? Are we sometimes disappointed as the Jews were disappointed? What did the Jews do? Who came to know the truth?

Some looked for God’s plan in the midst of disappointment. They didn’t look just at the outward circumstances but BELIEVED GOD. They focused on the hidden jewel in the manger stall. They found power and purpose in that little baby. When the reality of your expectations doesn’t look at all as you dreamed- When your husband has flaws you haven’t seen before… When your children disappoint you…. When your physical home will not be featured in a magazine. What can you do?

Look beyond the circumstances. Look for the hidden jewel.

Psalm 127:3 says “Sons and daughters are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb a reward.”

Can we respond like Mary in belief when there are times those children do not seem like a reward but more like punishment? When my first child, Becky, was born I knew nothing about being a mother. I was raised an only child and had never been around babies. Also, I was given no training prior to her birth as to what to expect. When she arrived, she had severe colic, volatile vomiting, and slept very little. She would sleep for 45 minutes and then cry most of the day. I remember crying out to the Lord, “What have I every done to deserve this?” Then as this baby grew into a beautiful girl, inside and out, she became a child who loved the Lord. And then she began being my great helper and helped me raise the other children. She was a great example for the other kids to follow and I cried out to the Lord “What have I ever done to deserve such a child as this?” That was truly a great lesson to me that God only gives us good gifts.

May we each learn from the hidden lessons of Christmas, some truth that will help us with the expectations of our life. May we find the hidden jewel in all of our circumstances.