The Unexpected Christmas

The Unexpected Christmas

The Christmas Season is usually a super hectic time of year at our house, besides the traditional stress that we feel during this season. I usually choose to add additional levels of stress by hosting an open house. I love hosting people in my home, and Jeff and I feel,it is a gift of love we can give to all our friends. For probably 25 years or more we have,, more than likely, had an Open House in our home, now mind you not every year, but a lot of them. Having a Open House during the holidays is not easy task.

 

I begin working about 60-45 days out. We shop most of the year for it. The house has to be cleaned from top to bottom for what I like to call, Model Home status,  which if you don’t know what that is, it means the house needs to look like no one lives in it. So needless to say it’s a lot of work and a near possible task, that often puts a lot of stress on the whole family.  

 

But this year, we are taking the year off. There will be no open house.  In fact, there is even talk about just having a low key Christmas day and driving over to Wichita, eating Chinese food and going to the movie theater for the day to catch several movies we have been wanting to watch.. So we can just chill out with our kids and focus on spending time together while we honor what the real meaning of Christmas is. Either that, or we are going to spend the day in our PJ’s just relaxing with the kids and watching Christmas movies on the TV.

 

Everyone handles the stress of Christmas differently. The problem comes when we forget what the day is really all about. We can get so focused on, trying to get the best gift, or not having enough money to afford the Christmas you would like,  or maybe it’s just missing that loved one that isn’t going to be at Christmas this year.

 

I remember one specific Christmas, times were really tough for our family, Amy was probably 6 or 7 years old. We had to struggle to get what little we could for the kids,  and at the last minute Amy decided she wanted a Baby Alive, but there was no money left for such a gift, and as much as I tried to explain to her, that Santa had already done all his Christmas shopping,  so it might have to be next year before it happened, she refused to listen to such an idea and was determined that it would come.

 

Christmas morning came and all of our presents were unwrapped, and as Amy looked around, realizing that all the presents under the tree had been opened, she stood up, and with both hands on her hips,  she calls out with an attitude that told you under no uncertain terms that she was not satisfied with the results of her Christmas. “I know there is another gift around here somewhere”she begin to look all over for her Baby Alive that she was certain Santa would bring , but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

 

Maybe you were expecting something this Christmas and it isn’t going to be either. Maybe, there is no way you thought you would be where you are today,  but you are. Perhaps the stress level is so high at your house, you’re not for sure you even want to celebrate Christmas this year. Let me encourage you to look to the reason for the season.

 

Christ came,  born in a manger, not some palace like the people of that day expected. He was born to a mother and His step dad, not the expected family of that day either. His parents, had to run for their life because people were after Him. He came to die for a group of people that  couldn’t even appreciate the sacrifice He made by coming to earth. But yet that sacrifice is the greatest gift we could receive.

 

Nothing went like the people expected that Christmas night, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  is the question asked even years later, John 1:46 but yet it turned out to be the best thing that any of us could ask for, because without it, there is no eternal life for those who trust in and rely on Christ.

 

Nazareth was just a small town of probably about 150 people,  according to my research, with a majority of a Jewish population, the same Jewish population that rejected Him as the Christ. Imagine everywhere you go, being rejected? Christ doesn’t have to because it happened to Him. In fact the bible says, that He has been tempted and felt every pain we have.

 

So, don’t get discouraged and frustrated if things are not going as planned this season. Remember it happened that way on the very first Christmas as well. There was no room in the Inn for Jesus to be born,  and Mary had to ride a donkey for who knows how many miles.

 

The bible tells us, that we need to have a “Whatsoever” attitude when we begin to get frustrated. You know, you have heard kids say “Whatever” when they are disgusted with someone’s attitude or comment. Well, I believe God wants us to have a Whatsoever attitude,  He tells us that in Philippians 4:8 whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think on these things,  it tells us this is the only way to have peace, and not to be anxious is by bringing your requests to God and thinking on these whatsoever list of things. The good, the praiseworthy, the lovely and so on. I am sure that night Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph could have focused on the terrible surroundings the Christ child was born, they could have focused on what bad parents they were for the King of kings to be born in such a place, they might have even thought what did we get ourselves into, but I don’t’ believe they did. I think they had a “Whatsoever” attitude and choose to focus on the glory of the Christ child before them.

 

So this season, don’t get discouraged because you aren’t getting the present you wanted under the tree or everything isn’t just how you imagined it. In fact, don’t even focus on the ones who are not with us this Christmas. But focus on the one who told us in Rev 1:8 NIV “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Remember, that the first Christmas all kinds of unexpected things happened,  including the greatest gift of all Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

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I Hate Reruns!

I Hate Reruns!

I hate reruns! And I don’t mean just a little bit. There is almost a cold chill that runs down my spine like someone scraping their nails on a chalkboard kind of feeling I get if I have to watch a T.V show or movie more than once. There is also something that just gets under my skin about watching old shows or movies, even though I have never seen them before. I guess I  feel like I am missing out on something. To watch an old show,  I have to purposefully put out of my mind the fact it is an older show and pretend, it is new.

My husband loves old Western’s he doesn’t care if he has seen them before or not. He will watch them again and again. He also does that with old football games. He will watch a game he has already seen and knows the outcome of it. The other day we were watching a “Live” football game and some fans in the stands were holding up a banner that said, “National Champs 1996″ to which my husband turns to me and says ” They need to move on” and I replied to him “Oh! this from a man who watches T.V shows made in 1964” We both laughed but it is true.

I am not really for sure why it bothers me so much. My daughter and I have had this conversation a lot recently, it’s a debate over which is best, binge-watching old seasons of TV shows on Netflix or, watching them live on the network, but having to wait from week to week to see them.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the younger generations, they want to wait for the whole season of the show to be completed and a new one come out on network TV while they sit back and watch all of the old seasons a year/season behind on Netflix or Hulu. I don’t know what that says about all of us and I am sure some psychologist could tell us. But I will tell you what I think, For me, I don’t want to look back.
I don’t like looking back at the past mistakes of my life, see because for too long those past mistakes held me hostage. They held me down by depression, discouragements, and anxiety. For a season of my life, they held me captive in my home as I refused to leave it or even answer the phone because I would replay the mistakes I had made over and over in my mind. My mind lived in a state of reruns of my life.  That season taught me I need to keep our eyes on the prize! No runner will tell you they ever ran a race and won looking backward.
A scripture that has helped me more than anything is Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
All too often when we make a mistake, we focus on those mistakes or we allow what someone said to us to hurt us and we believe it as truth when it is a lie. We replay it over and over again. Or a tragedy happens in our lives and we get stuck there. At times we succumb to the lies and the fear,  they begin to take over and suddenly we are allowing our feelings to control us instead of what God’s word says about us. We forget to claim the promises that He will never leave us or forsake us, we forget that His word says He is working all things together for our good.
This reminds me of a person who is walking down the street in the middle of town, they suddenly fall down and trip then fall into a mud puddle. When that happens you don’t lay there and waller in it. No! you pick yourself back up as quickly as possible and you brush yourself off and keep on going, hoping no one noticed. So why when we fall, get knocked down or make a mistake do we get stuck, playing the reruns in our heads? It is the same as if we are laying there and wallering in the mud puddle.
God never intended for us to let circumstances like that keep us down. That is a trick that satan uses to keep us down.  Nothing makes him happier than if he can control our lives with fear, disappointments, and regrets that keep us wallering in the mud puddle.  The thing is God gives us directions because He knew this was gonna happen. He tells us in Phil 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Did you notice that the scripture above Phil 4:6&7 is placed in the bible right before verses 8 and 9? That is intentional you know. That’s because they go together. God calls us to not be anxious about anything. But take our needs to Him in prayer and then focus on what is good and believe what God’s word says and His peace will be with you. ALMV That stands for the Alesa Lewis Miller Version just in case you didn’t know 🙂 I say that jokingly but also seriously because you see I have walked this life and I have been the person in the puddle and I had to pull myself up out of that puddle and wipe myself off and I am telling you that if I can do it you can too!
I am giving you the secret to when life knocks you down or when your world feels like it is crumbling around you.(and it will)  Think on these things. It is not the time to live by feelings, your feelings will lie to you every time and lead you astray but God’s word does not lie God’s word stands.
So this week, turn off the reruns! Keep your eyes on the prize (God’s Word) and dust yourself off don’t allow satan to play this game with you anymore focus on that is good and the peace of God will be with you!