Posts Tagged ‘Christmas and holiday season’

 

I guess you’ve probably noticed by now  that’s it’s nearly Christmas. The shops have been selling Christmas cards and wrapping paper for months and playing Christmas songs continually for weeks, so I think we’ve probably all got the message by now.

But have we actually “got” the true message of Christmas yet?

Christmas really about giving and receiving presents, eating too much food, and holidays from work/school (even although that’s nice!), it’s actually about Jesus, God‘s only son, and how over 2000 years ago he came to earth as a baby to live amongst us, as one of us.

This Christmas, please take time from all the hustles of Christmas, to remember just why we celebrate Christmas…because of CHRIST!

 

So we’re almost at the end of 2012. I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be over nearly as soon as it began! I know some will tell me that’s a sign of getting old, but I refuse to believe that, as I think it’s simply been because there’s been so much going on in my life this year…again.

emergency-signIt’s been another tough year for me:

  • Supporting my hubby as his health has deteriorated
  • Supporting my Mum for the first half of the year while she struggled to continue to look after and care for my Dad at home as his dementia worsened
  • Supporting Mum in the second half of the year as Dad first of all was in hospital for over 10 weeks and then moved into a local nursing home
  • Visiting my aunt who has been living in a care home for over 2 years and who reached the grand age of 90 in October
  • Various trips to A&E with my hubby , my Dad and my aunt – and of course they were all long waits, and sometimes during the night
  • Hubby’s retirement – which looking back on things was the best thing he could have done given how his health has deteriorated since he finished working
  • Several family bereavements
  • On-going health issues of my own

In amongst all that I’ve managed to keep working full-time, and unbelievably haven’t been off sick all year! Not quite sure how I managed that as there were some days when my pain levels were so severe I really don’t know how I managed to get through the day at work, but obviously I managed it somehow!

Anyway, enough about my year. I hope that whatever this year has brought you, good or bad, you will have made the most of your time with your friends and family as we never know what tomorrow will bring. I pray that you may have felt God‘s blessings on you during this year, and as we look ahead to 2013 you may go forward with confidence that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

All Year Long by Michael W Smith

This Christmas season I wish you joy
The wonder in every girl and boy
I  wish you gladness, the warmth and cheer
Of good friends and family gathered near

May children’s laughter in falling snow
Rekindle those  sweet scenes from long ago
May every carol, each candle bright
Remind  you why angels sang that night

If trouble finds you, this is my  prayer
May peace come into your hearts and make you strong
 And I wish you luck, the kind to last all year-long

I don’t know about you, but over the last couple of weeks, particularly the week leading up to Christmas, the shops were mobbed but everyone seemed happy to speak to the person next to them in the queues, even although they’d never seen that person before, and probably likely to never see them again.

Funny that, because every other week of the year you go shopping, no-one is interested in speaking to you unless it’s to give abuse or complain about something. Isn’t it funny how the spirit of Christmas seems to make everyone nicer to each other.

Wouldn’t it be good if that Christmas spirit of friendliness towards others could remain all year round, not just for the few days of Christmas.

It’s Christmas time, and for many that also means party time!

Christmas Party

But what does party time mean to you? A night out with friends and/or colleagues? A Christmas meal? Lots of drinking? Lots of dancing? Very late night or even an early morning?

And what about the day after the party, how do you feel? Hangover? Little recollection of events from the previous night? Exhausted? Memories of a night full of fun?

Sadly for many, Christmas night‘s out are all about drinking lots of alcohol and getting into a state that means they are not in control of their actions, and will have little memory of anything they have said or done. For me that’s not a good night out, that’s just a waste of money!

You can have a great night out and have fun spending time with friends, without the need for alcohol…trust me on that one as I’m talking from experience!

christmas party2I find it quite annoying when people assume that just because I don’t drink I can’t enjoy a good night out! I’m sorry to break all your preconceptions, but not drinking and having fun aren’t mutually exclusive!

Please don’t misunderstand my message today, I am not against people drinking, I am against people drinking to excess, because after all what does that achieve both for the person doing the drinking and those who have to look after them…I’ll let you answer that question yourself.

In conclusion, if you’re attending a Christmas party in the run up to Christmas, I hope you have a great night out, but even more so I’d ask you not to drink to excess but instead drink responsibly. 

At the start of this year, I shared with you my aims for this year (Welcome to 2012) – not my new year resolutions, but what I aim to achieve this year. Since then, at the end of each month this year, I’ve given you an update on how I’m doing. So here’s my update for November…

  • Eat healthier
    • Done ok with this ones I’m managing to continue to eat reasonably healthily while I’ve been at work, and not too bad when at home.
    • Hope in the next few weeks, before we get right into the Christmas season, that I can continue to each healthier, so that with all the eating that usually goes on at Christmas I don’t put on too much weight!
  • Lose some weight
    • Failed completely this month as I’ve put on a pound! Really not sure how I’ve managed that as I thought I’d been doing reasonably well this last month
  • Spend more time reading my bible
    • A bit better this month as have actually managed to spend some time reading my bible
    • Although I’ve managed to read my bible this last month, I’m still struggling to find the time and energy to do this.
    • I’ve said this for the last few months, but maybe next month I’ll manage it!
  • Don’t let pain rule my life
    • Bit of a better month as far as pain levels are concerned, as although I continued to have daily pain, most days it’s not been quite as severe as in previous months.
  • Get back to playing tennis as stopped playing in 2003 when I first wasn’t well
    • Not managed this yet and given this is now the end of November and although my tennis club is open year round, there’s less people playing these days, so I’m guessing I’ll probably get right through this year without getting back to playing tennis…but you never know as there’s still another month to go!
  • Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes each day to spend some quiet-time with God
    • Managed to spend more “quiet-time” with God in this last month.
    • Due to family bereavements during th month and some family health issues again, there were a few occasions again where my quiet time with God ended up being my crying-time with God!
  • Get back to playing the piano regularly as it’s been a while
    • Although I haven’t actually played the piano again yet, steps have been taken to change this!
    • I’m afraid though I’m not going to let you in on what that progress is yet…you’ll have to wait till my end of year review!
  • Go on holiday – we’ve not been away anywhere since 2002
    • Again, no progress with this.
  • Keep on top of the housework (especially the ironing mountain!)
    • I really do hate doing housework, and ironing is definitely my least favourite chore
    • It’s should therefore be no surprise that I’m still failing miserably at this one.
  • More patience and understanding of others
    • Still finding this incredibly difficult!
    • I really do need to continue to pray for patience.
  • Stop procrastinating
    • Most of the time I’m doing ok with this, but I’m sure like everyone else, I do have my moments!

So that’s my honest answers to how I’m getting on with my aims for 2012 – To summarise my progress to date…it’s stalled a bit in the last few months, but overall, given recent circumstances, I’m reasonably happy with my progress even though I could do so much better!

There’s only one month left in 2012, so I’ve not got  much time left to achieve my aims, but I’m still hopefully still got time to achieve some more of them before the end of this year!

How about you, are you succeeding with your aims for 2012 so far?

Whatever your aims for this year, I pray you may be making progress in your aims for 2012, and that come the end of the year you will have achieved all God had planned for you this year!

At this time of year we all seem to be even busier than we are throughout the rest of the year. So much so that I think it can often be very easy to get totally caught up in all the rushing about, buying presents, buying food, writing Christmas cards, putting up Christmas decorations etc.

Every year I feel the commercial side of Christmas gets pushed towards us earlier and earlier…soon the shops are going to be trying to buy our Christmas cards and decorations all year round! Christmas should be special, it should be a time of year not trivialized by advertising and present buying, but looked forward to by everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, simply because it is a the time we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong I do not want us to stop giving and receiving presents at Christmas time, however I do believe it should be secondary to celebrating Christ‘s birth.

So this Christmas, don’t get all caught up in all Christmas festivities, and forget about Jesus. Make sure you put aside some time this Christmas to give thanks to God for sending Jesus to earth two thousand plus years ago!

Please watch and listen to the following video by Michael W Smith called Christmastime:

How do you know when it’s Christmas time?

Here’s some things that may be tell-tale signs for you:

  • Christmas puddings, turkeys etc all start going on sale at the supermarket
  • The shops start offering deals to “deliver before Christmas”
  • Your neighbours start putting up their Christmas decorations
  • You receive Christmas cards and present from family and friends
  • You start singing Christmas carols at church
  • You hear a Salvation Army band Christmas carolling
  • 

Any of those sound familiar? The only thing I would say is that I for one certainly would use the shops as a guide to when it’s Christmas time as they seem to start selling Christmas goods earlier and earlier every year – This year it was early October that I saw the first Christmas decorations and presents in a shop!

But are these really the true signs of Christmas?

Mother Teresa once said the following:

‎It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.

Beautiful and so true.

Please follow Mother Teresa’s guide and show your fellow brothers and sisters God’s love just by giving them a smile.

Share a smile this Christmas!

 

What 3 things are you looking forward to before the end of this year, and why?

For me my 3 things are (in no particular order):

  • Holidays…i.e. No work – I’ve got 10 days holidays left to use! I don’t think I need to say anymore do I?!
  • Spending Christmas Day with my family
  • Christmas presents – I love giving presents and seeing the expressions of the receivers face when they see what they’ve been given

So that’s the 3 things I’m looking forward to, but what 3 things am I least looking forward to in the next few weeks, and why?

For me my 3 things are (in no particular order):

  • The weather! – We’ve had so much snow and freezing conditions in the last week, that I don’t want any more.
  • Going back to work after my holiday! – I don’t think anyone likes going back to work after time off, and I’m no different.
  • Shopping – I hate going shopping at the best of times, but I detest it even more at this time of year as the shops are so busy and the queues are so long
  • 

Let’s hope the next few weeks are full of joy and happiness for us all and that even the things we’re not looking forward to turn out to be not as bad as we’d feared.