Enjoy the Holidays and Count Your Blessings

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were afraid.

 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  (paraphrased from the book of Luke)

“This is Christmas: Not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.” Frank McKibben

As we celebrated Christmas on Sunday, December 25th, I hope that everyone enjoyed the day with family and friends. It seems that the holidays have become so commercialized that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost somewhere under the gifts, food, and parties.

Our family isn’t celebrating Christmas until Wednesday, December 28th. Our sons celebrated Christmas with their in-laws this year, leaving our celebration later in the week. As our younger son came down the stairs this morning, I said, “Merry Christmas!” and he said it was more like a “Happy Sunday!” The gifts remained unopened under the tree, and the weather was so warm that we grilled chicken outside in the afternoon.

We have many in our family who were not looking forward to the holiday season. There have been many loved ones who have gone to Heaven this year, and first holidays without them are never easy. Hopefully, you were able to reach out to someone sad and lonely during the holidays and give them some encouragement.

“I don’t want to just LIST the stuff I’m grateful for. I want to BATHE IN IT. I want my heart to burst open with the joy of it all.”  Christine Kane.

As 2016 comes to an end, take the time to give thanks for all of your blessings. Be grateful for everything in your life. I’d like to give you something to think about this week. I have heard it for years and copied it from Advice Quote #1527660.

If you have:

Food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep
-You are richer than 75% of the world.

If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change
-You are among the top 8% of the worlds’ wealthiest.

If you are attending college or planning on attending college
-You are among the top 1% educated globally.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness
-You are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation
-You are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.

If you are reading this message, you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

We all take these things for granted, and most of us who apply to everything on this list can still find things to complain about. We’re so lucky, but we don’t realize it. So, just think about how fortunate you are, be thankful for the loved ones in your life, and smile. :]

It might be a good idea to print this and read it on days when things aren’t going the way you planned. It’s easy to dwell on the negative and disregard the positives in our lives. There is always, always something for which to be thankful.

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”  Carl Bard

Have a great week!

Next week (January 2nd) I will talk about starting the year out strong, and I will discuss several ways to work on our 2017 goals every day!

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