The "Christmas Season" in the U.S. usually begins the day after Thanksgiving and lasts through the whole month of December ending January 1. During that time it's OK to sing and say the name of JESUS in stores, restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and piped-in Christmas carols croon in elevators and doctors' offices, and so on. Often, corporate offices have "Christmas parties" where gallons of alcohol generously flow and the foyers of office buildings are embellished with "Christmas" decorations.
The U.S. "Christmas" season also includes lots of spending of "gifts" for "good little girls and boys" who are brain-washed by our culture that they MUST have the latest electronic gadget, newer car, better clothes....whatever the passion is according to worldly traditions. Don't forget the backwash of debt, debt, debt when this 'delightful" Season ends in January! :)
What happened to me in the days and weeks afterward shows me that when we hear God speaking to us through His Spirit -- by giving us thoughts and desires to do something for HIM -- and we take steps of faith in the direction He's leading us, amazing things happen. Here's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :) The devotional message I shared with the precious Creekview cheerleaders included two verses:
Matthew 1:21 -- "She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name JESUS, because He will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 1:23 -- "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him 'Immanuel' -- which means, 'God with us.' "
I stayed on those two points with them and said, "If you KNOW Jesus you are forgiven & free to live AND you will never be alone. He will always take care of you and be with you. The only reason we (I) can act silly and laugh often and love lots is because JESUS lives in us and we are confident that He loves us and will never leave us and He really is Immanuel to us. And that's why we celebrate Christmas....and all we really should be celebrating Christmas all year long!"
What have I learned through my own devotions? Relax and realize the most important thing is this life is RELATIONSHIPS. My relationship with Jesus Christ is first and then my relationship with my family and others are a very close second! :) Nothing is more fulfilling and joy-filled than to love and serve God alongside your brothers and sistas!