Life and Religion
|‘Tis the season to remain virtuous|
|Biblical principles to having a good holiday|
|Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013|
The holiday season often brings out the best in people. It’s a time when we display more compassion and generosity.
However, it can also bring out the not-so-positive aspects of our personalities as we stress find the “perfect” gifts or fuss with getting all the decorations up, making sure all the cooking and baking is done, attending holiday functions and the list goes on.
So then, how do we balance it all, maintain our sanity, peace and avoid negativity during a time of year that is recognized as a celebration of the birth of Jesus? Look to scripture. Here are a few biblical guidelines to having a good (virtuous) holiday season.
Luke 6:38 (NLT)
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
Giving is often attached to a monetary value, but giving can occur in so many different ways, such as contacting local shelters and donating items that you could still use but have tucked away and stored in a closet or the garage.
It’s also a great opportunity to get the children involved as well. Make holiday cards and speak with administrators of a local hospital, like Levine Children’s Hospital, to visit and leave a card for a child. Another idea is visiting an assisted living facility to read encouraging scriptures with residents.
By giving to others, you gain a return as well – a feeling of happiness that you were able to make a difference (no matter how great or small) in someone else’s life.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
In the midst of every situation, give thanks! Even when that person pretends to not see you in line or the cashier is not in a “festive” mood at the grocery store, find a reason to smile or laugh.
Studies have shown that smiling can create feelings of happiness and even help to reduce stress. It is one of the simplest pleasures of life. And you don’t have to wait until the holiday season to put a smile on your face. So wear it all year long.
3. Be Grateful
Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
When your child approaches with a list of misspelled toys, it’s easy to feel guilty or disappointment when you are unable to fulfill the request. Time a moment to reflect and remember how far you’ve come. Never forget to celebrate the victories that may easily be considered small. Have gratitude for all things – returning home safely from your destination, having a job or simply having the ability to use your senses. These are the “simple” benefits of life that are often overlooked with an ungrateful heart. By being grateful for where you are and progress made, you strive with optimism for a better and more promising future.
Romans 12:20-21 (NLT)
Instead, if your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
So many experiences can lead to an erupting volcano of emotions. Maybe someone cut you off on the road or spoke to your rudely. Perhaps, you are just not in the mood for dealing with the crowds this year. Whatever the issue, remember it’s not what happens but how you respond. As a Christian, you represent Jesus Christ. Stop and ask, “What would Jesus do?” The easiest thing is to react in the same tone as the offense. But by doing so, you can miss out on being a blessing to someone else or even yourself.
So consider what you will say before you say it. A soft-kind answer turns away anger, but harsh and angry words can create conflict and land you on the evening news caught on tape in a violent altercation in the parking lot of a toy store. Is that how you really want to earn your 15 minutes of fame?
5. Set a goal
Luke 14:28 (NLT)
But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
Credit card companies and loan offices have a giving heart during this time of year as well. Unfortunately, it’s accompanied with interest. Set goals and remain in your budget. You’ll be able to enjoy entering the New Year more peacefully without thinking about spending the next year paying off the bills just created. If your heart is still a little saddened about just not being able to get those specific gifts – set some goals to be in a better place next year.
Consider opening a Christmas account at your current financial institution. Deposit $5, $10 or $20 weekly (based on your budget), starting this season, so next season you can cross off your list and check it twice. You’d be surprised how quickly your deposits (with interest) add up in a year’s time.
Kimberly R. Lock is the author of “Who You Callin’ Silly? How a Silly Woman Becomes Virtuous.” She assists her husband in the business aspects of running Unity Gospel House of Prayer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Join Lock and other once silly, now virtuous women at www.WhoYouCallinSilly.com.
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