5 Tips for The Preparation of 2011 out of The Christmas Story
December is a month that means a lot of different things to all of us. Some of us have good memories and some of us do not have those great memories. But to all of us it is a busy season, that’s for sure. We can get as busy as we choose to be. We have to make choices where to go to and choices in what to do in this particular week. And then, the New Year is coming, where we have to make choices on what we want to accomplish next year. If we don’t make any choices, the year and time will make choices for itself and we will meet all of those choices as the year unfolds.
So, let’s have a look how we can learn form The Christmas Story how to make plans for the next year. It’s really quite simple. Let’s look at how the Lord handled the first Christmas and the pattern will become clear, so we can go and plan accordingly. Let’s go.
First, plan ahead for 2011. Now in actuality the Lord started His planning “before the foundation of the world.” But, He is God—you don’t have to think quite that far ahead! But do consider the fact that He really put things in motion about a year and a half ahead by visiting Elisabeth and Zacharias. Then six months later He visited Mary and then Joseph. So, make a great choice and write down your ideas for 2011.
2. Trust God. Zacharias questioned God and made an Gabriel mad! Not good. Thankfully there was a plan to make it all work out anyway! But then there was Mary. Don’t you know the doubts and wonderings and questions just swirled in her mind? But all she would say is, “Be it [done] unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Simple, but it works! To trust God is true humility. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7, New King James Version). To give someone else the responsibility to see to your every need requires trust. But, you can do it.
3. Have a grateful attitude. I’ve heard, as I’m sure you have, how depression rises during the Christmas season. Although I can’t be certain, it’s possible Elisabeth may have been dealing with it. Luke 1:24 indicates she went into hiding after she became pregnant. She was older and perhaps embarrassed. Or maybe she was ashamed that her husband had made an angel so mad by his arguing, that he was struck dumb! Whatever the case, the situation changed after Mary entered their house with a heart and mouth full of praise. Just her presence lifted Elisabeth so high she fell right in step with the mother of our Lord. Be grateful for what you have, spiritually and naturally. Ask the Lord to help you be even more grateful. Never feel sorry for yourself because of your circumstances
4. Follow the Leading of the Holy Spirit
Joseph was led through dreams and by angels. The wise men were led by a star. Now the Word does not promise you’ll be led by dreams or angels, but that’s because you have a much more dependable leader than dreams—the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “He will guide you…and he will show you things to come.” (That could mean tomorrow’s to-do list!) He will help you. First John 2:20 says you have an unction, a knowing, a sensor on the inside of you. Learn to develop sensitivity to your sensor by: knowing God in His Word, praying in the spirit, then following through.
5. Lastly, but not at all least, is love. For God so loved, He gave. Love always gives. But not all giving is love. Some gifts are given out of guilt or obligation, which brings resentment. Some are given to manipulate another person’s feelings, even to make them feel guilty. And some gifts are given to make the giver feel better about himself and have little to do with loving the recipient. Check yourself. Judge your motives and be sure love—God’s love—is behind every gift.