Merry Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas
Christmas will be celebrated in just a few days and if you’re like me and thousands of others you still have presents to acquire. This time of the year can be joyful for many people and stressful and depressing for others. It all starts around Thanksgiving with our schedules filling up with the demands of church, family and work. Practices start full force if you’re involved with your choir, Sunday school or any church program. Traveling can be a lot of fun and adventurous as we visit distant relatives and friends; however, this too can add a level of stress. At work our responsibilities may increase as we near year’s end: sales quotas, reports and holiday parties. Again, this can be exhilarating and fun but also add additional stress to our lives.
We also carry emotional baggage from the past twelve months or even longer, which only compounds the stress as all these things pile up. The wrongs, perceived or real, we’ve received from co-workers, family and friends can also get added to the pile. With all this going on, plus the responsibilities of work and family, it’s no wonder we can be robbed of the joy of the holidays.
Here’s an instant fix: forgive others and then forget about it. I know this sounds ridiculous, but the burden and heaviness of harboring bad feelings and bitterness due to hurts we’ve received can add a tremendous amount of stress to our lives. This is a great time to give the best gift ever to yourself by forgiving others! We often rationalize our own thoughts and ill feelings about those who have hurt us by persuading ourselves that these thoughts and feelings are somehow fixing what they’ve done or that they deserve what we’re feeling. In reality, of course, how you’re thinking or feeling about others doesn’t change or correct what they’ve done or said to you.
Here’s a Bible verse to help support what I’m suggesting: Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.”
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve experienced being falsely accused, wronged, judged, lied to and verbally abused. It hurts and bruises us emotionally. When we harbor these hurts they fester and grow until we are overcome with them and can’t shake them from our thoughts. They wake up with us and go to bed with us. They’re like a nightmare that won’t go away; every time we fall back to sleep we start where we ended the night before. Do you get my drift? Only if you harbor these feelings can you relate to what I’m saying. It’s time to dump the ill will and bitterness! Forgive those who’ve hurt you! You will be the winner! Just imagine waking up tomorrow with NO ill feelings toward anyone! Just imagine going to bed without the heavy burden of being disappointed and hurt by anyone. Do you think you’ll sleep better?
Merry Christmas to yourself! The best gift you can give yourself is forgiving all those people who’ve taken advantage you, abused you and wronged you in this and previous years. Forgive—forgive and forget. Bury all the bitterness, anger, slander and every form of malice.
Take the time to get alone and pray that God will remove these unkind feelings toward others from your heart. As you pray for God to help you forgive others, you’ll feel peace and comfort. The space in your heart that was occupied by bitterness will be filled with love. It really works, and you will feel the benefits from this great gift. Bring the joy of Christmas back into your life!

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