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Activated December 2009

Christmas - December 2009

With the world reeling from economic woes, this is going to be a different sort of Christmas for many of us, but with the right approach it could turn out to be the most blessed yet.

01-12-2009
A Good Christmas
A Good Christmas

For many millions of us, this Christmas will be unlike any we’ve ever had. Those who haven’t felt the full impact of the worldwide economic downturn themselves are surrounded by people who have. Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers whose annual bottom lines depend on Christmas sales are bracing for the lowest volume of sales in many years. Charities that count on Christmas giving to finance their projects for the next year face the prospect of having to scale back those projects, even as the need for them grows. 

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01-12-2009
Christmas in the Air
Christmas in the Air

Blessed is the season that engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.

—Hamilton W. Mabie

 

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

—Scrooge’s nephew in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

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01-12-2009
Looking for Christmas
Looking for Christmas

In the Philippines, the Yuletide season means everything—family reunions, commemorating Christ’s birth, celebrating love. Combine that with good food, endless parties, and halls “decked with boughs of holly” from September all the way to February, and you’ve got a pretty merry Christmas.

But several years ago, Christmas didn’t bring the same good feelings for me. Maybe that was because I was a 20-year-old single girl who was craving a different kind of love that Christmas. 

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01-12-2009
A Christmas Prayer

Loving God, help us to remember the birth of Jesus that we may share in the songs of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. 

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01-12-2009
Christmas Thoughts for Hard Times
Christmas Thoughts for Hard Times

An open letter by Lily Sridhar

Dear One,

I was thinking of you today and wanting to send some encouragement your way, when my thoughts went back to the very first Christmas. The picture that came to mind wasn’t the traditional depiction of the Nativity, though, with Mary looking serene and lovely in a fresh gown, adoring the infant Jesus wrapped in spotless white linen and lying in a manger that looks more like a nice piece of furniture than a feeding trough for farm animals, while a donkey, groomed for the occasion, stands beside tall, strong, unshakable Joseph. No, the picture...

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01-12-2009
Christmas in Bethlehem
Christmas in Bethlehem

Winter fires were burning bright,

Travelers journeyed in the night.

A husband led his weary wife

Through the falling snow

To a humble cattle stall,

Nowhere else to go.

Christmas in Bethlehem,

Many years ago.

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01-12-2009
Christmas Angels
Christmas Angels

For the Christian, every day can be Christmas! Jesus showers His love down on us every day of the year. But sad to say, it’s not that way for so many poor folks who haven’t yet found the real meaning of Christmas.

So many people are lost, lonely, downtrodden, weak, and weary. Some are weak in their bodies, others are weak in their minds, and yet others are weak in body, mind, and spirit.

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01-12-2009
Why I Love Christmas
Why I Love Christmas

Last Christmas my children and I teamed up with another family to spread Christmas cheer to children with physical disabilities. Our program consisted of music, clowns, and lots of personal attention. Because the children’s disabilities varied greatly from audience to audience, we never quite knew what to expect.

One show was hosted by an organization that assists disabled children from low-income families. When we arrived, one adorable toddler caught my attention immediately.

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01-12-2009
Recession Christmas Gift Ideas
Recession Christmas Gift Ideas

How to give more while spending less

 

Time. You would probably be surprised at how many people on your gift list would enjoy an evening of company more than a boxed gift.

 

Notes of appreciation. Instead of commercial Christmas cards with generic messages, take the time you would normally spend shopping for gifts to write those people personal notes telling them what makes them special to you.

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01-12-2009
Free at Last
Free at Last

One by one the prisoners filed into the small meeting hall. Each one wore the same gray outfit and had the same closely trimmed haircut, but their faces showed that each was an individual with his own story of what had brought him to this place.

“I am arranging for the most hardened and dangerous criminals to watch your program,” the warden had told us. “Many of them will never see freedom again. They are the ones who most need to hear what you have to say.”

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01-12-2009
The Answer
The Answer

Can you remember a time when you were a child and you wanted something so badly that it seemed that special something would never come?—And then when it finally did come, it wasn’t what you had expected at all, but something far better? That’s what our heavenly Father did with Christmas.

Since the beginning of time, people had longed for a special something to make their lives truly happy and complete. 

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01-12-2009
On the Eve of 2010
On the Eve of 2010

The eve of a new year is often a great time to reflect, to rejoice over the progress of the past year while also learning from the setbacks and mistakes. Then it’s time to look forward. What would you like to accomplish? What would you like to change?

One key to succeeding in the new year is to plan ahead but not worry ahead. “Don’t worry” may seem easier said than done, particularly if you are facing an uncertain future with health, financial, or personal problems. 

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01-12-2009
A Prayer for the Year Ahead

Dear Jesus,

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I put that future in Your hands. Thank You for the many promises You have given that encourage me to trust You.1 Help me to have faith as I begin this new year, to be fully persuaded that what You have promised, You will also perform.2

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01-12-2009
My Gift to You
My Gift to You

Love—this is My special gift for you. Love that knows no boundaries. Love that does not judge you by the color of your skin, the way you look, or how you speak. Love that gives. Love that shares. Love that cares. Love that is vibrant, warm, and kind. Love that is unconditional and forever.

Love that is patient in a world of intolerance. Love that is understanding when others fail to see into your heart. Love that is kind and tender when all else around you seems cold and hard. 

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