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Authentic Hope



   November 29, 2011    

  Vol 6 Issue 25       


From Dr. Kathy


Thanksgiving has already come and gone. I hope giving thanks sticks around.


Friends took on the 30-days-of-thanks challenge. They were supposed to list one thing per day they were grateful for. Some Thank you flowersdidn't finish.


On a daily basis, let's keep gratefulness before us, not because someone starts the trend on Facebook, but because it's a good way to live life. Being thankful for "big" things and "small" is wise. For people, attitudes, and beliefs. Appropriately for things. For what we can learn from good things and bad. There's got to be more than 30 things.


Being thankful might have been easier last week than this. And this week may be easier than next. Let's do it anyway.


As commercials air between now and Christmas we'll be reminded of what we do not have. Let's choose to be grateful for what we have instead.


As we listen to friends talk about what gifts they asked for, we might decide we need those things, too. Let's choose to be grateful for what we have instead.


Commercials and conversations aren't the only reasons gratefulness can be hard. Confusing "needs" with "wants" also makes it less likely. Do we really need the new outfit or kitchen utensil or do we want them? Do we need the dessert or want it? If we hear ourselves say we "need" something ("I need that CD."), but we recognize we just "want" it instead, let's immediately verbalize the new statement ("I want that CD."). Hearing ourselves say what is real will help our attitudes shift.


Most importantly, perhaps, let's teach children the difference between wants and needs and help them to be truly thankful for how little they really do need.


Out and About                       Like us on Facebook

Kathy definitely enjoyed speaking to hundreds of middle school and high school students, adults interested in evangelism, and Christmas traditionhundreds who enrolled for our webinar about strong-willed children during the week before Thanksgiving. There are no scheduled events in December. Besides spending time with relatives over Christmas, she'll get ready for her eight January events.
Foreigners in the Land  ~ Tina Hollenbeck


Many stores have been decked out in Christmas regalia since November 1. Christmas-themed commercials have been running almost as long. But, as you read this several days after Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is now finally "officially" upon us.


And, for many, that means the advent of extra busyness and stress. After all, we have:

  • Bubbly annual letters to draft and Christmas cards toChristmas cookie address and send;
  • Gifts to shop for and wrap "just so" - not only for spouses and children but also for extended family, friends, co-workers, and teachers;
  • Trees to buy and bedeck;
  • Houses to decorate, inside and out, according to the standards set by Real Simple magazine;
  • Productions of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and Handel's Messiah to attend;
  • Visits to Santa;
  • Christmas choir music to practice and pageant costumes to sew for the kids;
  • Hundreds of cookies of a half dozen varieties to bake and  glaze and sprinkle - and then the cookie exchange to attend (where we secretly hope many will marvel at our macaroons);
  • Deep cleaning to accomplish in order to host "perfect" parties;
  • Menus to plan and food straight out of Martha Stewart Living to prepare;
  • Volunteering opportunities to schedule - the ringing of bells and serving at the local food pantry or shelter...


To name just a few.


Is it any wonder that so many relate to and even imitate Ebenezer Scrooge?


It's not that these traditions and others are necessarily inappropriate. But we need to guard against getting so caught up in activities that we forget the reason behind them.


Which is - simply put - Jesus. Yes, many choose to celebrate a secular Christmas despite the fact that the holiday as we know it really did originate as a means of remembering the Incarnation. But, for Christ-followers, Jesus needs to come first, regardless of what those in the world around us do.


So I urge you, brothers and sisters, to stop and think before launching into seasonal autopilot mode. Do your planned activities turn your heart toward Jesus? Do they reflect His priorities? If not, can you make alterations so they do? And what should you take off your plate entirely?


It can be difficult to live as "foreigners in the land" (1 Peter 1.17, NLT) by choosing to excuse ourselves from the seasonal rat race and, instead, celebrate Christmas differently. But we won't regret it in the end, when - instead of marking December 25 with exhaustion and regret - we greet the day with the peace and contentment that will come from having prioritized Jesus in a special way throughout the Advent season.


Tina's Facebook Profile 

Archives of Tina's Newsletter Articles 

Word of Encouragement....


"Now, our God,

          we give you thanks,

                     and praise your glorious name."  


                                            1 Chronicles 29:13



Gifts and More 


We offer a variety of products that make great Christmas gifts for parents, grandparents, teachers,administrators, colleagues, Sunday school teachers, babysitters, and volunteers. Please head to our shopping cart. 


Spread a philosophy you believe in by purchasing our new quote shirt: "Kids have present value, not just future potential." Only $10! 


Our miracle mats make another great gift item. Teachers and Sunday school teachers can turn them into appreciated gifts parents and grandparents will unwrap to children's delight on Christmas morning.

Life Coach
 Looking for a fresh start in the New Year?
Something to start doing, something to stop doing? Need new direction? Let our Christian life coach, Nancy Matheis, help you discover your own answers in the light of your personal perspective.
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