It happened again. The nights are longer, the days colder and the calendar hangs on the wall with its final page of the year, the Christmas season. 
 
Did you count the days or did this annual event take you by complete surprise, again? Are you one of those who have all the presents wrapped by the Friday after Thanksgiving and the decorations up that weekend? 
 
Are you the one who waits until Christmas Eve to finish the last-minute shopping? On Christmas morning, are you putting up the tree, between negotiating with your kids and the cat? On Christmas morning, are you still trying to figure out how to thaw out the twenty-pound turkey, which you remembered was still in the freezer, at eleven pm Christmas Eve? 
 
If you had a “Wonderful Life” moment, how would your holiday season appear? Do you know the true meaning of Christmas? Have you taken the opportunity to make the birth of our Savior the focus? Are tasks more important to cross off the list or is this a time of the year to focus on relationships? 
 
Which are you, Mary or Martha? I hope both. We all want nicely decorated homes with Holiday music and smells wafting through the air. A tidy home has value. We learned from the two M’s and Jesus that people come first. 
 
“She had the cleanest floor in the cul-de-sac.” I have never seen that epitaph. Sweet sisters, rest knowing, you are enough, just the way you are. God loves you. 
 
Make memories for a lifetime, moment by moment. Quality relationships are a vital ingredient to celebrate Christmas. Jesus came so that we may have fellowship with Him. 
 
Allow yourself to revel in joy and include all who are willing. May you have the best simple, Christ-filled, memory-making, Christmas ever. 
 
 
 
If you like, To Do lists, or even if you don’t. 
 
Here are my Top Ten Thoughts that may enhance your Christmas season. 
 
 
 
10. Slow down. Spend time with God, your mate and family. Many things will vie for your time. Time is fleeting. Moments of special conversations, cuddling by the fire and drinking hot chocolate or singing Christmas songs off-key with your kids are precious. 
 
9. Do less. Decide what is most important and leave the rest. I can promise you, no one will be sneaking in your house to pick up what you leave for later. It will be there when the season is over. Let it wait, or as the movie Frozen sings, Let it Go. Give yourself permission to enjoy the family before getting all the dishes in the dishwasher. 
 
8. Spend time in fellowship with those you love, the ones that love you, and the ones that need love. Give the gift of focused time by putting phones, computers, and things with a screen on a Christmas hiatus. 
 
7. Help someone else make the season special. Donate time, presents, or food to those who need assistance. Invite the struggling family over for a meal or take one to them. Be a Secret Santa to the little ones who don’t even have a family. Remember the widows, warriors, orphans, the infirm, elderly, single parent families, the military families doing without their service member, the oppressed, prisoners, government leaders, and church staff. This Christmas season share your appreciation with words, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and significant touch. (Just like in the book by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages.) 
 
6.  Keep it simple and stick to your budget while in the spirt of shopping. Set limits and stay within them. You will feel better, when January comes and no holiday bills. 
 
5. Join your family in a service project where you normally don’tparticipate. Many opportunities of service are available during this season. Give your most precious gift – yourself. 
 
4. Laugh. Love. Live in the moment. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Enjoy December. 
 
3. Don’t forsake fellowship with the believers for business, parties, and gifts. The greatest gift is God giving us His one and only son, Jesus. 
 
2. People are open and hungry to hear the Good News. Commit to sharing the gospel with at least two people in December. 
 
1. Celebrate the One who is worthy of celebration. Focus on Christ in all you do. 
 

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