Here we are again at the beginning of the month of December when we celebrate “Christmas.” Are you one of the people who dread this time of year and just wish it would be over? Do you feel like you are going through the motions of the season because you don’t want to let your family down or that you wouldn’t be a “good Christian” if you didn’t? Are you tired of the great festival of greed and excess the holidays have become? Have you noticed that instead of bringing us together, the divisions that separate us seem to grow even deeper during this season? So what do we do?
Well I have a suggestion. Let’s realize that the busyness and excess surrounding the holiday called “Christmas” are not part of the Christmas story or the message of Jesus. Let’s take the myths and fables out of our celebrations. And finally, let’s stop worshiping the baby in the manger and start following the life and teachings of Jesus, the way shower and master teacher.
This month we are going to be looking at the life and teachings of Jesus and how they apply to the lives of his followers in the world today. My personal preference of translation of the Bible for my personal study is the King James version because I love the language, but I have chosen to use the New International Version (NIV) for this series because it is easier to read.
Each day’s post will end with an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the lesson, by considering a question or questions. I encourage you to think about these, live with them for a while. Journal about them or post your thoughts to the comments. Please get active in this discussion, we really want everyone to gain a real understanding of what it is we are celebrating during this holiday season.
Yes, this may be challenging, but it will be life-changing if you allow it. Please join us in this great adventure into the life of Jesus.
Dig a Little Deeper:
During the month of December Christians celebrate light and Jesus.
How do our celebrations reflect the light and life of Jesus?
But shining our light in the world can be difficult, especially during the often frantic holiday season, can’t it? Could you use a few ideas for fun and easy ways to let your light shine during the holidays?
Well, I’ve got them.
From now until the end of December I will feature fun and easy ways to shine your light. There will be family friendly activities you can do alone or with friends, family, co-workers or another type of group. There won’t be set days for these posts, you’ll have to watch for them.
In a world with so much darkness it may be difficult to celebrate during the holiday season. But celebrate we must. Not in an all out go for broke material sort of way, but by letting the light of God living through and as us shine.
As the holidays approach many of us will start planning holiday meals. If one of your holiday traditions is spending three days in a “food coma” from overindulging stop and think, is it really worth it? Is it really enough fun, to make yourself sick over?
This year I would like to offer a few alternatives and substitutions that are just as good without all the fat and sugar. Trust me, they may be different but they still taste very good.
Begin your meal with a salad or a light soup. I like to begin with a salad of spring greens, walnuts, dried cranberries and maybe a little goat cheese with a light vinaigrette dressing or a light and easy sweet potato soup made with sweet potatoes and onion cooked in water or veggie broth, with cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper and puree until smooth in the blender. Sometimes we have both.
Cook your turkey in a healthy way. Don’t add extra fat by stuffing the cavity with butter or frying it. Season the bird well and bake in the oven.
Make your own cranberry sauce. If you can boil water, you can do this. You can control what goes into it, including what you use for sweetener.
Forget the green bean casserole and serve lightly steamed fresh green beans. Add some sliced almonds and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Leave the “candy” out of the yams. I like to serve fresh sweet potatoes. There are many ways to do this. First there is baked. You can fancy them up a bit by making them “twice baked” either sweet or savory by what you add to them. You can mash them. You can cook them with apples and spice them up with cinnamon and nutmeg. Follow this link to my recipe for Orange Spice Sweet Potatoes.
Serve a healthy relish tray. This was always included in the holiday meal when I was growing up and is still best part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for me. Include lots of raw fresh veggies and fruit with a few of your favorite pickles and olives if desired. If you want dip, consider making one without cream cheese or sour cream. This may be done using white beans or mashed cauliflower.
How about ice cream for dessert? I like to serve pumpkin fruit cream made from frozen bananas, pumpkin puree, almond milk, pumpkin pie spices and a wee bit of molasses.
“It is the one season of the year when we can lay aside all gnawing worry, indulge in sentiment without censure, assume the carefree faith of childhood, and just plain “have fun.” Whether they call it Yuletide, Noel, Weinachten, or Christmas, people around the earth thirst for its refreshment as the desert traveler for the oasis.” — D.D. Moore
“Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom? There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our understanding.” — Earl W. Count 4,000 Years of Christmas
“Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” ~Augusta E. Rundel