Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't Miss The Blessings of the Season

This morning, I'd like to welcome guest blogger, Gayla Grace. Enjoy!

Photo Copyright Alycia W. Morales 2010
“It’s all about the baby.” Our pastor repeated those words several times in his recent sermon. “It’s all about the baby.”

How easily we forget the reason we celebrate Christmas: baby Jesus. How distracted we become as we search for the perfect gift and attend every Christmas program or play we find offered. How ungrateful we must appear to our precious Savior, whose birth we are celebrating, when He finds himself pushed aside amidst the chaos of the season.

How do we stay focused on the reason for the season and cherish the blessings that come with it?  We can start by honoring our faith through prayer and Bible study. It’s easy to skip our daily time with the Lord during a harried holiday schedule, but if we want to stay focused on the reason we celebrate, we must begin each day with a special time of concentrated focus on the Lord.

We also need to evaluate our schedule and determine what activities we can let go during the holiday season to allow for a less-harried routine. Although I love attending the symphony and other musical presentations during the holidays, I forego those activities right now to allow time to attend our children’s Christmas programs and carry out special family traditions. I’m also careful not to commit to every volunteer activity that comes my way. I’ve learned that, especially during the holiday season, the easiest way to take control of my time is to learn to say no, which allows me the opportunity to say yes to what’s more important.

We can experience extra blessings of the season if we allow ourselves to be “other-focused.” When we look for ways to meet the needs of someone hurting, or volunteer to help serve others less fortunate than ourselves, we experience our own blessing. During the Christmas season, our family likes to ring bells for the Salvation Army and help collect coins for their ministry. It reminds us the importance of giving.

Another way to experience the blessings of the season is to give the gift of grace to those around us. In our e-book, “Thriving at the Holidays: A Stepparent’s Guide to Success,” co-author Heather Hetchler and I talk about the importance of offering grace when tensions are high and emotions are heightened. Stress-filled days create difficult interactions, but a grace-filled attitude diffuses anger and glosses over criticism. It’s the perfect gift for every difficult encounter a loved one presents.    

The most cherished Christian holiday is in full motion. It’s easy to become distracted with the busyness of the season and lose focus of the blessings that accompany it. But when we intentionally focus on the beauty of the season and allow God’s sustaining hand to uphold us, we experience peace and joy throughout the season.

As you celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ - the baby - this month, don’t miss the blessings of the season.

Gayla Grace is a wife and mother to five children in her blended family. She and her husband, Randy, have been married 16 years and Gayla is passionate about helping others on the stepparenting journey due to the struggles she has walked through.  She has a Master’s degree in Psychology/Counseling and offers support through her blog and website at:
She is co-author of a holiday e-book published in November, 2011 titled, “A Stepparent’s Guide to Success, Thriving at the Holidays- Unwrapping the Gift of Peace.” It can be purchased at or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

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