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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Say, “It Ain’t So!”

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Remember that infamous saying, “Say it ain’t so.”?  Well, that’s exactly what I’m saying, “Say it ain’t so.”  It’s hard to believe that we are twenty days away from Christmas.

Have you noticed it?  Christmas seems to arrive earlier each year as retail stores display Christmas decorations alongside Halloween merchandise; and some stores even have major sales to stimulate seasonal shopping before Thanksgiving arrives. 

This brings a sense of excitement to some.  To others, a sense of panic!  For most of us, our time is limited; and yet, it seems like there are a million things to accomplish.  Add the concerns of a weakened economy to the balancing act of time, and you become a candidate for a “Christmas stress attack.”  Before you get too stressed, consider the following tips to help alleviate the pressure.

Get organized: Go through Christmas decorations.  Spend a little money on organizers, and determine which decorations to keep, give away or throw away.  If an ornament has sentimental value, but it’s too fragile to use, take a picture of it and put it away for safe keeping, or discard it.  

Have a plan, and stick to it:  Develop a holiday strategy – prepare a Christmas shopping budget, schedule holiday events, and set a date to mail Christmas cards.

This is where most of us get into trouble - we don’t stop long enough to devise a plan and keep it.  The plan doesn’t have to be so rigid that there’s no room for flexibility.  I do, however, advocate a plan that gives you a sense of direction.

Develop a Christmas-gift budget.  Make a list of all gifts to purchase, estimate a cost per gift, and put the total amount of money in an envelope.  When you shop, use your “Christmas cash” to buy the gift, and when the money is gone, you’re finished shopping.

Scary, isn’t it?  But you know what? Your money will actually go further, because you’ll become more aware of sales, and you’ll do less impulsive shopping.

Think outside the box – shop green, shop sales, serve others: Who’s to say what your Christmas holiday should look like?  Choose to do something different this year.  Have a re-gifting Christmas party or a gift-less Christmas.   Invite friends and neighbors to a cookie exchange, or invite your family to join you to serve at a soup kitchen over the holidays.  Spend an evening with your children designing your own wrapping paper or ornaments.  Whatever you do, have fun being creative!

Pace yourself and take time out for the important things in life:  It’s much easier said than done, but don’t get caught up in the hurried pace of the holidays.  Get six to eight hours of sleep, eat three meals, exercise, and take your vitamins.  And, take time to spend an hour or two with friends or other significant people in your life to build a relationship that will last forever. 

Create one new holiday memory:  What will you do this year that will keep your family talking about it for years to come?  One year, I made reindeer antlers and a red nose for everyone to wear while we danced to the “Reindeer Poky.”  When our children were young, and for many years after, we bought a special ornament that would be significant for each child…and eventually, each grandchild.  With a growing family with growing interests, it’s always my holiday challenge to think of creative memories for the holidays.

Here are a few great reminders for us as we enter the Christmas season:

Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Keep Christ in Christmas

  • Read the Christmas story to your children often during the holidays – Luke 2 and Matthew 2. 
  • As a family, decide how you might serve others. Here are some ideas: depending on where you live, you could shovel snow for an elderly person, deliver gifts or groceries to a single mother and her children, or bake cookies for someone who will celebrate Christmas alone.
  • Have a significant place in your home to display a nativity scene.
  • Bake a birthday cake for Jesus and serve it with your Christmas dinner. 
We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas!

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For more about Relevant Women -

The purpose of Relevant Women:
Relevant Women exists to train women to minister relevantly, to discover and grow in God’s call in their lives and to serve in their churches as godly leaders.

RW accomplishes this by:
•Teaching life changing truth
•Building significant relationships
•Practicing spiritual disciplines
•Defining our personal stories
•Developing our personal ministry

At Relevant Ministry, our vision is to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Our mission, to fulfill this vision, is training future leaders - building healthy ministries - and serving on the Gulf Coast. 

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