IDEAS FOR A REALLY MERRY CHRISTMAS

First and Foremost ...
REJOICE!!

For unto us a child is given!
To come to earth and dwell among man
To bring Salvation and Everlasting Peace!

A special note from the Tennant household
for Christmas 2009

The Glenn Beck family has a tradition ... they put their loose change in a special jar and designate it for a needy family in their neighborhood or community. Then the children put it on the doorstep of the chosen family. The gift is given anonomously so the children can learn the joy of giving without something in return.

This year we decided to join the Beck family. We've already chosen a family that we know is having financial hardships. It's a joy for us! Maybe you could consider doing something like that as a gesture of thanks for the greatest Gift of all! Our Savior, Jesus, the Christ, our Messiah, the real meaning of the celebration!

1. Remember that 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season!' While warm and cozy images, family get togethers, decorating, parties, programs, gift giving, and beautiful Christmas Carols have their place in our celebration, we need to focus more on the real reason for all the holiday activities. And that is that Jesus Christ, our Savior was born into this world to bring salvation and good will among men! Then you won't be disappointed if all the plans you make don't work out exactly as expected or things aren't quite as 'cheery' as you'd like. You'll be able to rejoice in your heart that God saw fit to dwell among us and take upon Himself the penalty for our sin, and give us everlasting life and peace with Himself!

2. Be careful not to 'do' so many things that you can't enjoy any of them. PRIORITIZE! Be involved in and do the things that are most important to you and your loved ones, but don't exhaust yourself to the point that Christmas becomes a chore and a burden on you. Have Fun with your choices!


3. GIVE ... and that may not mean spending money. The greatest gifts are those that come from the heart and are given in kindness and service to others. Bake some 'goodies' for that neighbor you've been meaning to get acquainted with, take some home cooked meals to shut ins, visit people you don't even know in Rest Homes or Veteran's Hospitals, etc. Try making inexpensive, hand crafted gifts for friends or those precious ones you visit in the hospitals and care centers. Instead of spending a fortune on the members of your family, give some of that money you would have spent to your favorite charities, and involve your family in that giving. Pray about what ministries are really doing God's work and give them a donation. There are so many creative ways to give during this season. And after all, we've been given the greatest gift mankind could have received! Shouldn't we give something back?


4. Don't 'pig out' tooooooo much! Okay, I know we all indulge during the holidays, but if we 'binge' just because it's there, we can make ourselves ill and regret it later! Just watch and cut a few corners here and there. You can do that without giving up ALL the sweets and goodies. If we feel good we'll be able to enjoy everything and we won't be sluggish and 'weighted down' with overeating.


5. This one is a favorite of mine - (see my page on the history of Christmas Carols!) SING and SING and SING those wonderful songs of Christmas! There's just something about singing those joyous songs! It fills our hearts with gladness and remembrance of our Lord's birth! Try to make a point of going to a church program or Christmas play. It will inspire you to rejoice and be glad!


6. Put aside problems for a while. If you don't have to deal with an uncomfortable issue, leave it until after the holidays. Give yourself a break from worry if you can manage it. Determine to forgive - forgive - forgive! .. everyone with whom you have a conflict, hurt or resentment. We should do that every day of the year, but what a good time to let those things go, and forgive just because God wants us to, and it's so appropriate at this time of year, when we remember that Jesus came to buy forgiveness for us ALL!! And we're all equally forgiven of sin in our Heavenly Father's eyes!

7. Try making an advent wreath and light a new candle every week. Make it a family project, get the kids involved! There are resources galore online with suggestions on how to prepare the devotions for the advent. Try making it a family tradition.

8. Take communion. We believe in taking communion any time in our home. We're of the opinion that our churches don't do it often enough, and there's certainly no scripture against partaking of it in your home. During this season, it's a wonderful thing to do, with candles, low light, an informal praise session before partaking. It may not seem 'Christmassy' but Jesus did grow up from that Babe in the Manger, to a MAN who gave His life for us and told us to remember Him in this way ... often - so it seems very appropriate to us. That's our personal preference and this is merely a suggestion and something you may benefit from by including it in your Christmas traditions.

9. Do something totally different; break your routine. Go for a walk or drive with family and friends. Go somewhere you've never been before. There are neighborhoods in our town that I've never seen, and I'm sure there are in your town too. There are those country roads that can be very scenic and interesting. Take a camera and stop where you can and take some snapshots, just for the fun of it. My son and I drove down a country road around Thanksgiving one year, and saw the most beautiful sight. A huge flock of wild geese were flying south. It was majestic! I pulled the car to the side of the road and we got out and watched them until they were only tiny dots in the sky. It was so refreshing, and it caused us to reflect upon the wonders of God; how he built into those birds the instinct to know when and where to fly for the seasons. Sometimes it's the simple things that can bring comfort to our souls during the holidays.

10. Last, but by no means least, don't forget to spend time with our Heavenly Father - in prayer, praise, and in His Holy Word! Renew a commitment during this time, to spend more time with Him this coming New Year. Determine to start fresh in your walk with the Lord. His mercies are "new every morning!" And we all need to continually grow and be refreshed in the Lord!

From our House to Your House .. We wish you happiness and peace during this Christmas Season! May you be blessed and be a blessing!

We Love You!

The Tennant Family

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