10 Dec FROM BETHLEHEM TO BEDLAM
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (LUKE 2:10)
PEACE … PEACE … that’s what Christmas is all about?!?
Christmas seems to start earlier every year. Christmas lights are put up in November. Holiday music starts playing on the telephone hold lines before Thanksgiving. We actually take our family “Christmas” picture BEFORE Halloween!
Christmas itself seems to revolve around the decorating, baking, grocery shopping, holiday clothes, kids’ programs, vacations, and our increasingly hectic schedules. We all face increasing pressure to participate, perform, and be a part of the Christmas season.
Would you believe that the advent calendar sets aside the first Sunday of December as the day of LIGHT, The second Sunday as the day of PEACE, the third Sunday as the day of JOY, and the fourth Sunday as the day of LOVE? These words—light, peace, love, and joy—represent what we are supposed to focus on at Christmas.
Humankind has messed it all up!
Do you know the origin of the word BEDLAM? Believe it or not, it comes from the word “Bethlehem.” In 1247, a monastery was started in a section of London known as Bishopsgate. It was named St. Mary of Bethlehem. The inhabitants of that time had their own dialect and speech, and when the word “Bethlehem” was spoken it came out BEDLAM.
Under Henry the VIII, the monasteries were dissolved and the crown took over the running of the church in 1547. St. Mary of Bethlehem in 1547 was turned it in to a home for the mentally deranged, an insane asylum. The name attached to the noise and confusion of the asylum was BEDLAM.
Since that time, bedlam has been linked with CONFUSION and chaos. This illustrates the way humankind has perverted the original purpose of the coming of Jesus. He came to Bethlehem not to being Bedlam, but to bring peace on earth.
How to Decrease the Bedlam and Increase the Joy this Christmas — G.I.F.T
Is your home filled with Bedlam? Are you breathless and harried and rushing to the mall in search of just the right gift? If so, I want to help you make the most out of the Christmas season. I want to share with you how to decrease the bedlam/stress and increase the joy of Christmas.
I thought I would start with where every Christmas Holiday ultimately ends up, with a gift.
Get into the right attitude. Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
You say: “It doesn’t feel like Christmas!”
Choose to participate in Christmas.
Don’t let the season dictate your attitude: YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE
Invest yourself in something.
Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Baby Jesus was the greatest gift of all. Jesus never gave anyone physical gifts … but He gave Himself.
Focus on a FOUR WAY WIN. Body /Mind/ SOUL/ SPIRIT
“4 WAY WIN = Sustainable LONG Term Personal Change”
DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT to get DIFFERENT results
In life … We don’t get what we WANT. We get what we ARE
FOCUS ON FOUR ACTIONS:
- Check your priorities.
- Be selective with your time.
- Allow other people to make their own decisions about the holidays.
- Have realistic expectations to live within your means.
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)
When you want to ring your kid’s neck, or throw out the entire recipe for famous plum pudding, or shred every ribbon on every gift under the tree, or grab the Christmas tree and shake it when the strand of lights that is burnt out is the very first one you put on, or when your sister-in-law wails “I don’t want a turkey … I want a goose!” I say simply smile and give her one!
REDUCE YOUR STRESS AND INCREASE YOUR J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, and You) WITH G.I.F.T.
I pray your Christmas season is filled Joy!