We have all heard the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas”, but what if some of the people you love will not be there? What if you were not invited to be with your family members in some other location? You may have a family member in the military that is far away and the thing he or she would like most is to be with family, but it is impossible. The song mentioned above is a heartbreak song for many.
There also may be family members who don’t want to share Christmas with you and have made that choice. It is never easy to come to the realization that someone does not want to be with you on one of the most special times of the year…especially for Christians. The question is…How does One deal with a reality at this time of year…or anytime, for that matter?
We really have one of two choices. It can be to let our emotions and disappointment weigh us down OR turn our directions toward a time of thankfulness for all the other blessings that we have.
First, look around you. Do you have other family members who are excited to be with you? Lavish them with your love…for they have not turned away. Do you have a roof over your head and food on the table? Rest in your most comfortable chair and eat with gratefulness. When the old, dark thoughts begin to come back and cloud your day, refuse them and look at the stars or the beautiful trees outside and realize that this life is too short to spend it in mourning…especially things that you can’t change.
Take someone by the hand and give them this message:
For us here in Florida, it may be down by the lake or through a green park, looking at the winter flowers.
Decorate a tree or a bush outside. Turn on some cheerful Christmas music…sacred or otherwise. I never knew how anyone could come up with lyrics like “Grandmother got run over by a reindeer”…but maybe it is good to chuckle and then shake your head because we would never say something like that about our Grandmother.
Give your pet an extra pat on the head and a bone in his stocking. What, no stocking for your dog!? Find one. Our beautiful 14-year-old Golden Retriever passed away this year, but I still strung lights around her memorial garden and whispered to her beautiful spirit, “These lights are just for you, Gracie”. Surprisingly, a beautiful rose appeared on the bush above her little tombstone in the middle of winter.
If none of these spark your imagination or lift your spirits about missing family or friends, turn toward someone outside the family. The scriptures tell us something that we should be doing, not only at Christmas but always.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
My husband and I have been surprised on returning to Florida from Virginia, how many people around us are either recent widows or in the last few years have become widowers. We decided to visit them for a while to listen to their thoughts and feelings. One lady has just recently lost her husband and will be having Christmas lunch with us. I mention this to say that when we are feeling “blue” about family situations, it changes things when we reach out.
Don’t forget the different organizations that make it possible to help children who are in need. Recently a child had written to her teacher that he only wanted Santa to bring a ball, some food and added…”I need a blanket.” If that does not pull you out of doldrums, you may need to examine charities like Samaritan’s Purse that brings smiles to children around the world. ( See Operation Christmas Child..Samaritan’s Purse)
Christmas is not all about giving or getting. I recently told someone that if I would receive a letter from my children saying anything of appreciation for me as their Mother, THAT would be “the best Christmas present of all.” So often Christmas is hard on those who have had expenses throughout the year and the funds are just not there for presents of any kind. Kind words and thoughtfulness is only the cost of a 50 cent stamp.
I close with this thought, with the help of a little friend, on the real reason for the need to choose a better outlook on the season:
VIDEO Winchester Cathedral Choir (Turn up sound)
My last blog was about stress in today’s society. This was about our modern, rich society that does not know how to budget time, relax enough…and perhaps even has difficulty with being THANKFUL.
This is a very short blog because I want you to concentrate on the video. Afterward, be truly THANKFUL for all that you have. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO BE THANKFUL. Shakespeare in his character, King Lear, Act 1, reminds us of the following when it comes to thankless children: “…How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”
If you are a complainer, STOP complaining after viewing the videos below. You have very little if anything to complain about.
We all have so much and rarely think about or realize that some countries have street children who have nothing and very little hope for the future. To them, it is no problem to lie or steal. It is how they survive. They do not know if they will have the next meal. If you were in this condition, you would probably do the same. I am appalled to learn that Ethiopia has only one major soup kitchen for thousands.
Jeremy Snell writes about his experience in Ethiopia: ” Korah is one of the poorest slum areas in all of Addis, Ethiopia. It was once considered the outskirts of the city and was the place where all the outcasts (the sick, lepers, homeless, and unwanted) resided. It is hands down the worst living conditions I have ever witnessed. They have no clean running water, and their streets are a mixture of mud, feces, and trash….One of the most astonishing things about Ethiopia is the number of kids and people who make their living cleaning mud and dirt off of people’s shoes. I don’t really know how to feel about it all. The other day, I got my shoes washed by a street kid down the road from where we are staying.. they charge 3 burr per cleaning.. which is equivalent to 25 cents.. and my shoes have never been cleaner. It’s probably one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I can’t even imagine having to do that for a living. This young boy was working near the university we were visiting. Poverty is such an indescribable idea to grasp. I don’t think it’s something we can truly understand unless we’ve experienced it.”
In comparison, you are not only rich in possessions and food, but you are truly rich in your soul if you are thankful. Stop now…and thank God. Do what you can to support legitimate help organizations. Samaritan’s Purse is a worldwide relief Christian organization. Click here to see all their videos on efforts to help.
If you can’t wrap your mind around the street children of Ethiopia because it is too far away from your existence, then think about your fellow Americans who in a blink of an eye lose everything they have worked for during a life time. All need your prayers and help.
The Street children of Ethiopia video:
There are many voices saying what is right or wrong with the United States. These voices come from every walk of life. They are strongest often during an election year. The worst and the best come out in the candidates for the highest honor in our government and in those who would speak for or against those candidates. Regardless of this, there are also spiritual leaders within our country that speak out with warnings that many will reject. This warning is that our nation must be healed or it has dire consequences to follow.
Recently an article was written by Michael Chapman,who quoted The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the renowned evangelist, Billy Graham. Franklin Graham has been leading open-air prayer meetings throughout the United States called Decision America. He has seen the cross-section of Americans and what they believe. During these trips, Rev. Graham reports that over 2,021 people have indicated that they have decided that they needed a spiritual awakening and have made a decision to follow Christ. He is asking them to not only pray for themselves, but for our nation. Here are a few of Rev. Graham’s words worth paying attention to as we face the future:
“They come to Decision America because they are angry or dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country. Then they hear the Gospel ( of Christ) preached, fall under conviction, repent of their sins, and turn to Christ. Praise God!….There is no doubt that the tens of thousands who have attended know that America is in deep trouble and on the verge of total moral and spiritual collapse—unless God intervenes. …They know our only hope is in Almighty God. In this secular age, the influence of Biblical principles and values has diminishing impact upon education, government and politics. More young people than ever before claim no religious affiliation at all. We Christians are not just simply tolerated—we are under constant, unrelenting assault for our beliefs and practices.”
Rev. Graham continues, “We are a people and nation in imminent danger,” said the reverend. “We mock God, ridicule His Word and His ways, and flaunt gross immorality.”
In conclusion, said Franklin Graham, “Only Almighty God can deliver us, and it is our fervent prayer as we go across America in the months to come, that He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”
Rev. Graham wonders if the handwriting may be on the wall for America as it was in older days for the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, that foretold a doom unless the people changed their ways.
He added that the United States may be in a situation like that of the Babylonian king Belshazzar, who saw the mysterious handwriting on the wall foretelling his doom but did not change his ways. They did not and his kingdom was handed over to a new world order.
As for politics, Rev. Graham has stated that he has been greatly disappointed by both the Democrat and Republican parties. This is why he refuses to endorse any candidate. He knows that the people throughout the United States must turn to God in order for our country to be healed.
“I think Americans across the board are fed up with the shenanigans that go on, politicians who go to Washington to benefit themselves, who promise one thing and deliver another…..Only Almighty God can deliver us, and it is our fervent prayer as we go across America in the months to come, that He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”
Rev. Franklin Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and also heads up Samaritan’s Purse, which ministers to the needs of people around the world through relief. “Samaritan’s Purse stands ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. We specialize in meeting critical needs for victims of conflict, disaster, famine, and epidemics throughout the world, often working through ministry partners on the ground. We provide food, water, shelter, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ.” These acts show the love of God and the healing of nations.
Franklin Graham’s father, Rev. Billy Graham is now 97 and lives in North Carolina. The video below is what Rev. Graham would like to say to the nation, calling it his last address to our country.
It is how to be healed…individually and as a nation. It is the story of how God takes individuals and makes them new. This is the message that people in our country and throughout the world need to hear. This is how our nation can be healed one person at a time.