How to Enjoy Christmas

How does one enjoy Christmas? For many Christmases in my life, I was fed up by the hustle and the bustle of the holidays. Sometimes I was outright angry at secular disbelief, insisting how offended they were by “religious symbols” or live nativity scenes invading their darkness…the true Narcissists of modern times. A few times at Christmas, I loathed my inability to lavish unnecessary gifts on my children and family members. And finally, often, the holidays passed while I boozed through them.

I should never judge how people see the Christmas season, but pray they get the point. I never want to be disappointed that I will be working and not with family, missing the family gathering and meal, watching the children beam when they open their gifts. That is precious, and should burned into thoughts or memories forever…with gratitude. That isn’t the point. So, what is the point?

The point I see today, as a follower of Christ, is the purpose of His visit, my gratitude and acknowledgement of that. I am transformed by believing in Him, His virgin birth… His life and teachings… His sacrifice on the cross… His blood destroying my sins past, present, and future… His resurrection guaranteeing mine from eternal death… and His continual intercession as advocate, defending me from accusations by the evil one. I am lifted when my belief turns to gratitude as I see the real Gift of Christmas, He gave Himself.

The point is seeing entire world is different because of His coming. Invention, exploration, and discovery may have been a part of mankind’s history, yet because of His coming and commission to His disciples to “go ye into all the world,” was catapulted as the Gospel spread, especially through the nations that accepted the message.

In fact, within modern history, from the past 150 years, technology has grown exponentially. I’m filled with gratitude, knowing He is the reason for this, His Spirit, Jesus promised, would come in His stead. The Holy Spirit brought the light of understanding and knowledge to people for invention, exploration, and discovery where His message is freely expressed and received. Where the message is rejected as truth, There is practically no invention, and the people would be living as people lived a millennium or more in the past without the discoveries from others.

How Christmas can be truly good, even wonderful, is refusing to allow the holiday to be about all you have done for others. You may have worked hard to cook, get everyone together, and to find that perfect gift for family and friends…and they don’t offer thanks for your toil. Think about what He has done for you, and be grateful by not expecting accolades…just give.

One last thought, and this is a “biggie.” You may not have time to go serve at a “drop-in,” or soup kitchen-meal-station for the homeless. Take a moment, pause and say thanks for what you do have. Ask God to bring comfort to the homeless, the widow and orphaned, the addict, the alcoholic, those trapped in darkness. Don’t forget to ask for our men and women serving the country, away from their families. Ask God to protect them from danger, from evil, comforting them in their loneliness…and their family the same.

Bonus thought. While you are asking, ask Him to foil the plans and schemes of the grifter running scams, preying on the elderly and weak. May God protect them all.

Merry Christ-mas to all, God grant you light to see His Truth…for His glory!

You Can’t Fix Them

My heart goes out to those who have children, a spouse, parents, or close loved ones in the throes of substance abuse and alcoholism. I know  that you who do, have tried everything you can think of to help them. The many tears and fearful nights, lying in bed waiting for that “call,” sends chills down your spine. It appears that you want them well, but they don’t. You may want to look at a different approach.
“If you are going to pray, then don’t worry. If you are going to worry, then don’t pray.” C.S. Lewis 
Family Help?
I can’t tell you how many have asked me if I would be willing to talk to their loved one with a problem. I am willing. When they do not call me, however, I know that they probably agreed to call me so you would let them be. That is no different than the many times they have told you they would change….but did they?
Ideas that will help.
One major step for you to take is to get help for YOUR addiction. What? Yes, you have a problem. You are co-dependent with your loved ones problem. You are playing hide-and-go-seek. You deny it to the world, HIDING behind a facade of pride, that your spouse, your chilld, or your loved one could possibly have problem….then you SEEK help for them quietly, desperately.
What will people think?
Don’t worry, they don’t think. They may be worried about the same thing. If, God forbid, you get that call in the middle of the night that your loved one has overdosed and in the ER at a local hospital. You will not care what everyone thinks then, so you better not now. 350 people die everyday from heroin overdose. Shout it from the housetop if need be. Come out of your denial, be honest. How you look to people doesn’t matter more than their life, does it?
Here are a few ideas that may help you:
You can be heroic. (These are suggestions, not legal advice)
1.) If this is your child, when you introduce them to someone say, “This is my son/daughter, who I love dearly, and they are an addict.” (no more denial) This will shock your child, and frighten them. They sense you are done playing.
2.) Get the help for your addiction. Go to Celebrate Recovery, or al-anon, and seek help from co-dependency. When you stop enabling them, you may hold the keys to the beggining of their recovery. Many people in these programs can help you, they’ve been there.
3.) Learn all you can about their addiction. Seek to understand. There is nothing abnormal about your loved one. WE are all fallen, sinful, and habit-ridden.
4.) Most important. Give this to God…then let go of the steering wheel of their life. You have no control, with each suggestion you offer, they will agree to, then ignore. You have to let go…and that is very hard. Follow this advice:
“Give all of your worries and care to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Pet.5:7 NLT
Believe me, once you give this to God, and let go, you will experience peace. How will you know if you have truly let go? If you have, you will catch yourself before you advise them, and skip the advise. You will stop helping them get high by not handing them money for gas, food, etc. Let them see you mean busuness. God has control now…and let them know that.
I hope this helps you. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.