In this holiday season, don't forget to focus on what is really important. It's so easy to walk into every store around and feel the need to decorate like crazy. What's Christmas without at least 1500 dollars of decor in the house?
Now don't get me wrong, I love holiday decorations as much as the next girl, but there is so much more to the "holiday season". Whether it be Thanksgiving or Christmas, we often get so wrapped up in materialism.
To me, the reason for both Thanksgiving and Christmas essentially boil down to giving thanks and doing good. It's not a celebration of Christ's birth to me, because I believe his birth was no more wonderful than his life, his death, his resurrection, or the work he does now. But, I do believe Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time to truly share Christ's love with the world.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can show Christ's love to the world. That certainly should be done all year long, but having a time when we really focus on Christ's love helps me to reflect! What am I doing to show the world that I follow Christ? What am I doing to affect the people around me on an individual level? What am I doing for the widows and the orphans?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. Maybe instead of focusing so much the gifts and the decorations and the food and the fancy parties, we need to be looking for the good we can do. So how can we cultivate an attitude of gratitude and godliness for the holidays?
Reflect each day on what you are thankful for. It's often said, but that's because it's true. It's so hard to be ungrateful or grumpy when we reflect on what we have.
Donate to your favorite charity. Find a cause that is important to you and give to it. It doesn't have to be a lot, although it certainly can be! Do your research and find a charity that uses it's donations effectively.
Volunteer for a worthy cause. Volunteer work is certainly easy to find! There are a myriad of ways that you can help individuals in your community. Ask your family to join in to make it extra special. Better yet, commit to volunteering for that organization for the next year or more!
Invite elderly people from church over for a fancy dinner. How better to make someone feel loved and appreciated then to go all-out having them over?
Find a place that accepts Christmas gifts for impoverished children. I know I can't imagine Christmas without presents, especially as a child. It definitely depends on the person, but a special really makes me feel love. There are so many families who don't have the luxury of giving special gifts for their children, so let's do our part to help them out!
What other ways do you have to cultivate gratitude?