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A simple Christmas

December 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

a simple ChristmasThe older I get, the more I appreciate the simple things in life.

We live in a complicated world, full of chaos, tension, and stresses of every kind. And with our always-on, constantly-connected technology, we are bombarded by news, text messages, emails, and alerts all day every day. It’s easy to feel dazed and overwhelmed by the relentless noise that has come to characterize so much of life.

This Christmas season I’m striving to focus more on the simple things, the simple joys of time spent with family and friends.

Simple conversations.

Simple family games.

Simple meals.

Simple memories.

Isn’t it fascinating how cluttered and complicated we’ve made Christmas. It’s not supposed to be about stuff, no matter what the endless commercials suggest. Do we really need bigger and better? Do we really have to have the latest update? Do we really feel more special, important, (insert your own adjective here) — because of the amount and quality of stuff we accumulate? Do we even remember what stuff we received as gifts last Christmas?

I’m reminded of the wise and true words of Jesus as recorded in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

So, let me encourage you to join me in seeking ways to give — not just money and material things — but your time, talents, love, compassion, and grace, wherever you find the opportunity.

If you have children and grandchildren, are you teaching them through your own actions and priorities what is most important in life?

This Christmas season, I hope you’ll be drawn anew to a simple baby in a simple manger in a simple town.

His name is Jesus. And He was — and is — the hope of all the world.

How do you keep a focus on the simple things that make Christmas so special?

hot-chocolate-marshmallows-editedThe other night my wife was working on a sewing project, so I had the privilege of processing most of the requests from our kids (and the dog).

My almost-eight-year-old daughter, Caroline, decided that since the weather was, in her words, “very wintry,” then she needed a cup of hot chocolate. She didn’t have to twist my arm. As usual, I asked her if she wanted marshmallows in it, and, of course, she did. I must confess that I didn’t think anything about this seemingly trivial task — that is, until Caroline gleefully exclaimed, “Daddy, I love it when you give me marshmallows!”

“Why?” I asked.

Because you give me a whole handful. And you have big hands.

A smile came to my face — not just because she was so cute, but because she was just so right.

This week we officially usher in the holiday season. Thanksgiving is so often marginalized, crowded out due to retailers’ collective anxiety about cashing in and consumers’ fears of missing out on the biggest selection and the best bargains. However, Caroline told me several months ago that Thanksgiving is actually her favorite holiday — because, as she put it so well, “It’s important to tell God thank-you for all He does for us.”

Indeed, it is.

Some of us have experienced a lot of pain, loss, and heartache over the course of this year. But even in the midst of our trials, troubles, and tough times, we are still so very blessed.


Because our Heavenly Father gives us a whole handful of blessings. And He has big hands. [Tweet That!]

If blessings are like marshmallows, my cup runneth over. I hope the same is true for you.

What are you most thankful for?