Loving, Laughing, and Listening During the Holiday Season (repost)

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.