The Thanksgiving and Christmas season offers so many opportunities to crash and burn! Over Thanksgiving weekend I was in a department store and saw the holiday decorations and I promised myself that this year I would NOT over plan. I promised myself that I would build in time to enjoy the season. Almost immediately things began to pop up that want to take a bigger bite out of my time than I thought they would. Many are good things. More work is good. Visiting with friends is good. Leading a New Year’s Eve worship time is good. But I am resolved to be like Mary and choose the “better part,” not just the good part.

So I am building in “holiday enjoyment” time this year. Some of that will be just plain fun. Some of it will be spending more time with God, reflecting on His message for me this season. I’m not going to feel guilty about what I’m NOT doing so that I can do these things because I believe that doing these things will honor God MORE than being harried and hassled all season. That’s what choosing the better part means.

Resist Stress

One of the things I’m doing is actively resisting stress (is that in and of itself stress-creating? it can be if you’re not careful) and practicing enjoying the season. But I don’t always get it right. Last week one day I said to Phil “I’m really stressed about meeting this deadline.” His response was priceless (if not original). He said “And how’s that working for you?” In other words, “is being stressed about meeting the deadline helping in any way?” Of course, the answer was “no.” So I took a deep breath and asked God to help me release the outcome to Him as I did my best to meet the deadline. I’m working on “apprehending” or “taking hold of” the grace that God has for me each day (but that’s a blog for another day).

Stop Grumbling

Our pastor has helped, as he’s preached 2 messages on being grateful and not grumbling. I need to be reminded of that from time to time and I appreciated the messages. When I’m overly busy or tired, it’s easy to fall into the trap of complaining. And once fallen in, it can be hard to snap out of it. Something inside of me actually enjoys grumbling! Isn’t that horrible? But I bet you’re like that too. I’ve found that most people are. Yet when we can get out of the trap, life is SO much more enjoyable. And of course we are much more a reflection of God’s grace and peace to the world.
Say “Thank You” to God…In Writing

Here’s one activity I recommend. Find a time (or make a time) to sit down and actually write a Thank You letter to God. I find that writing it down makes me think more and makes the whole process more “real” or “true” than just praying silently or aloud. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to create a Thank You letter to God that was 2 typed pages. I was also amazed at how far-reaching it was. I thanked Him for things that I don’t routinely thank Him for (because quite frankly my thank You’s are often quick and a prelude to what’s next — Ouch!). What that really means is that I was thankful for things I don’t usually reflect on. And what that means is that I am more thankful after writing the letter than I was before writing it because I am more aware of the things I have to be thankful for.

Try it…you’ll like it…and you’ll glorify God more.

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