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Listen while you read: "Angels From The Realms Of Glory"1 (Lyrics)
In the middle of December last year, I went to our daughter's hairdressing salon to get my hair cut and my beard trimmed. It was the middle of the afternoon, and there was no one in the shop. She told me that business was really slow. She commented that it used to be that way in February when the various credit cards were due to be paid, but it seems to have shifted in part to December as well. I asked her why that was, and she told me that she thought that it was because people are out Christmas shopping. Even young children already have so much, and the parents are at a loss what to get them, so a lot of time is taken to go shopping. Big money is spent, and consequently, the service sector, such as hairdressers, suffers.
At suppertime, my wife and I discussed this, and I told her about the time when I was about eight or nine years old, and my parents gave me some liquid paints of various colours in a dozen little glass vials with cork stoppers. My dad had made a nice board drilled with twelve holes partway through into which the little bottles fit. My parents knew that I loved to paint and colour. For months, I painted the cartoon characters in a serial story in the paper, as well as some of my own artwork.
Telling my wife the memories of this brought up a flashback. I could see myself sitting in front of the window colouring and painting, and I became very emotional and teary-eyed. I remembered how happy I was with such a fine gift, and still am as I think about it. How pleased I was, so content and happy with a small gift during perpetual wartime shortages.
The apostle Paul also knew what it was like to live in need:
Philippians 4:12-13 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)
The pressure of giving, especially at Christmas time, is such a strain and a burden for so many people. They don't know what to give any more, and there is always the fear that whatever they do give will not be truly appreciated.
Think about it. Are you content with your life? Do you count your blessings? Most of us have so many things to be thankful for.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we bring You our thanks for the good things that we have in our lives and for Your Son Jesus who came to teach us and to save us through faith in Him. We offer this prayer in His name. Amen.
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Good, and much needed, message, Joel!
Thanks, Joel for another good inspiring devotional.
Thanks for the encouraging words, Joel. Have a Merry Christmas.
Thank you, Joel, your daughter is right. People are starting earlier and earlier causing too much stress. God bless you and your family this Christmas Season!
Enjoyed today’s devotional. How true. We have so much to be thankful for and must learn to be content. The greatest blessings are not material but friends, family, good health, as well as a home, food and clothes.
O YES! Joel. Just the right stuff to make me feel your gratitude and your parents love for you that prompted it! No blaming, just truth and reminders and a homemade memory from those wartime years. Me too. Blessings on your writing and art.
Thanks for another special devotional. Yes, we truly have so much to be thankful for and appreciate all that our Lord provides for us.
Blessings to you as you celebrate the joy of the true meaning of Christmas.
That’s for sure Joel. The North American world at least has made Christmas into a commercial bonanza when it should be an awe-inspiring, holy, thoughtful rejoicing in God’s amazing love, generosity and wisdom. How amazing that He gave exactly what we needed, even if we didn’t recognize the longing of our hearts.
Christmases were similar as thing were rationed and my father, a farmer, had to give meat to the government for the military. He got something for it but not the going rate.
I think we were happier with our small gifts than kids are today with their mounds of gifts. Even the various charities give out a large amount of toys. To us, it just teaches kids to be greedy. How do we stop it now.
Amen Joel. Being content with what we have is, l believe, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
I remember my best Christmas present ever was a box with small colouring books in it along with a box of crayons. Each book only had a few pages, but l had one page for every day of the year. How l loved that gift and still smile whenever l think about it.
Have a wonderful Christmas filled with peace, joy and contentment my friend.
I am truly thankful for being able to look after my husband, who has been afflicted with dementia for several years. He has lost the ability to communicate; to carry on a normal conversation is gone. I get really excited when he says a whole sentence! But I get so frustrated at times when I have to remind him to wash, brush his teeth, put on deodorant and shave, which, thankfully, he is still able to do, as well as dress himself. I have asked Jesus to give me strength to cope, but I still lose it sometimes. I have taken up painting, which is a great stress relief. Your prayer is wonderful, thank you.
Good Morning Joel
As I read your devotional, I was thinking that when we have so much and don’t need more, we could spend our money on providing for the needs of others. I know some do this instead of gifts. The Presbyterian Church offers “Gifts of Change”, and many other organizations also have such programs.
This year at our church we raised money to provide for stables. As part of the promotion, we had a stable in the hall, with a small donkey, a sheep, and four miniature goats. They put down a tarp, covered it with straw, and the animals were penned in. The kids loved it.
Merry Christmas, and a Blessed 2020 to you and your family.
Thank you, Joel, for your dedication to providing interesting and encouraging devotionals, which motivate me to strive to live a better life. Today’s is no exception, and I was sent back many years to a time when I was a youngster being raised on a farm. It was not an easy life for my parents, I have come to realize now that I am a senior. However, my parents always worked hard to provide my siblings and me with thoughtful gifts, often handmade; gifts that never disappointed and always brought a smile to our faces.
One year, my sister and I received bikes, and spring couldn’t come fast enough that year! I don’t think we realized it at the time, but these bikes had been bought secondhand, repaired, and painted by Dad and Mom. My little brother got a handmade ‘activity board’ with all kinds of interesting gadgets, locks, and hardware. His sisters got as much pleasure out of this board as he did.
Today, as a volunteer in a long-term facility, I see the pleasure these same boards bring to patients with dementia. I am always tempted to sit and fiddle with the gadgets as I walk down the hallway.
A walk down memory lane is just what I needed today, and I thank you! I thank God as Paul did for knowing times of plenty as well as times of hardship, for this has made me who I am today!
Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
All we need do is watch he news to know how blessed we are to live in this country.
Thank you, Lord.
I was so pleased to see your contribution this morning.
What a wonderful memory that is for you. I remember that Christmas gifts consisted of three things – something to wear, something useful and a small toy (I loved my dolls).
Today we are overwhelmed by the media and pressure to give – sometimes more than people can afford.
Thank you for sharing your memories.
I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas.
Thanks for sharing this devotional with us. Yes, an attitude of gratitude goes a long way toward making us happy. Blessings.