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Posts tagged ‘holiday’

Dads, Hang in There Through Christmas Chaos.


Christmas gifts

Does your family take a Christmas photo every year? Oh the memories!

And sometimes, oh the headache.

Last year, we managed to get all our kids and grandkids together in the same location, dressed just right for the perfect portrait. But you know how kids are …

Most of our grandkids are toddlers and preschoolers, so if I said it was chaos, that might be putting it mildly. What I remember was kids melting down, running off in the wrong direction, or just about falling asleep. Then, a diaper change and a mess on a sweater.

I mean, is it even worth the hassle for a photo?

Those thoughts did go through my mind that day. And I might be overstating it a bit, but for a while it was not fun. And as a granddad, I wasn’t even involved in most of it.

But when I saw the photo, I never would have known there were all those challenges. Everyone looked great! And 10 or 20 years from now when I look at that photo, I’m sure I won’t even remember what that day was like. I’ll just be thinking about my amazing grandkids and how they’ve grown and changed, and I’ll be wondering where those precious years went.

If your family is anything like mine, there are a lot of holiday events and activities like that. You anticipate the “perfect” meal or evening or outing, but things go wrong. The kids argue and fight. Or there’s a blizzard. Or you can’t get in to see the Christmas play. One thing builds on the last, and pretty soon you wonder if it’s even worth it.

Well, I’m here to tell you, it is.

In many ways, I think our kids’ memories are like that photo. What they remember in the years ahead is going to be better than what you may feel at the time as the dad. It might be hard for you to get past today’s challenges, but I urge you to “see the bigger picture” … so to speak.

So expect a little chaos. But also expect a great family time this Christmas. Invest yourself 100 percent in connecting with family members and bringing home genuine joy for them.

When things go wrong—and they will—you don’t have to worry so much or get stressed out. Just smile, keep rolling with it, and look forward to the next thing on your schedule.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Think proactively during the next week. How can you help your kids—and their mom—be well-rested, calm, and content during your family events?
  • Whether or not you take a formal family photo, get lots of candids. Have a contest with your kids for the silliest holiday-related shots.
  • Spend an evening going through old photos and/or videos—and talking about the memories—as a family.

Guys, please share your experiences. What’s the most stressful family event for you? And how do you make the best of it? Give your feedback either below or on below.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

CAREY CASEY

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment.

For the original article, visit fathers.com.

Poll Shows ‘Merry Christmas’ Greeting Slowly Fading Away in Secular Culture.


cashier at checkout
Nearly half of Americans say stores and businesses should greet customers with ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ out of respect for people of different faiths. (Walmart Corporate/Flickr/Creative Commons)

Nearly half of Americans say stores and businesses should greet customers with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different faiths, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

The issue has become increasingly political, with 49 percent of Americans supporting “Happy Holidays,” up from 44 percent in 2010, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. A minority, 43 percent, prefer the specifically religious greeting.

“Americans seem to be turning a corner on the appropriateness of more inclusive holiday greetings during December,” said Robert Jones, CEO of PRRI.

Opinions split along political lines: 61 percent of Republicans favor using “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” while 58 percent of Democrats say the opposite.

Among white evangelical Protestants, 62 percent would prefer that businesses use the religious greeting. However, most minority Protestants (55 percent), the religiously unaffiliated (58 percent) and half of Catholics (50 percent) favor the more generic greeting.

The answers also differ by generation. About two-thirds of young adults, ages 18-29, support stores using a non-religious greeting, as opposed to 39 percent of American seniors, the poll found.

Some conservative pundits have criticized the use of “Happy Holidays” as a sign that religious festivities have come under secular attack. This year, Texas passed a “Merry Christmas” law, allowing public school students and staff to say “Merry Christmas” and sing Christmas songs without fear of punishment.

Gordon Billingsley, 58, of Overland Park, Kan., said he’s fine with any holiday greeting.

“Why should I be offended by someone who is choosing to be inclusive as they offer me a kindness?” Billingsley said. “It makes it no less kind, and it sort of gives me some hope that the spirit of the season can reach across our differences.”

The telephone and cellphone survey of 1,056 randomly selected adults was conducted from Dec. 4-12 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MARY WISNIEWSKI/REUTERS


Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Don’t Miss the Merry .


The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared.
Titus 2:11

Recommended Reading
Psalm 100:3-5 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20100:3-5&version=NKJV )

Newspaper columnist Joseph Szalay wrote of serving with the 102nd Infantry Division during World War II. Christmas 1944 found him in combat in Germany. He gave gifts to the men in his section. The gifts were his personal possessions wrapped with paper from packages from home. “It was a Christmas I’ll long remember,” he said. “All we prayed for was to see another Christmas.”

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

His next Christmas was spent at sea in a terrible storm. “We prayed we would live through it,” he wrote. Arriving home in January of 1946, he celebrated a late Christmas with the family he hadn’t seen in two years. “This was the happiest Christmas I can remember,” he said. “I haven’t missed Christmas with my family since then and I thank God for all the Christmases since coming home from the war.”

Our hearts ache for those who miss Christmas because of distance; but it’s far worse to miss Christmas because of disinterest. Make this the merriest Christmas you can remember. Be thankful for every little thing about the holiday this year, and praise God each day of the season.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Hebrews 1-4

By David Jeremiah.

Just Half of Americans See Christmas as Mostly Religious Holiday.


Image: Just Half of Americans See Christmas as Mostly Religious Holiday

Nine in 10 Americans say they celebrate Christmas – including 80 percent of non-Christians, according to a poll released on Wednesday.But only half of Americans view Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while a third view it as more of a cultural holiday, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center. Others said it was both, or gave no opinion.

The poll looked both at how Americans celebrate the season now, and how they celebrated when they were children. Some Christmas traditions have stayed the same for people over the years, while others have faded.

For example, 86 percent said they would attend a gathering with family or friends on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, down slightly from 91 percent who said they did this as children. About 86 percent planned to exchange gifts, a slight drop from the 89 percent who said they did so as children.

Editor’s Note Health Benefits of Prayer Revealed!

Traditions that have fallen off for some respondents include sending holiday or Christmas cards, going caroling and attending religious services.Slightly over half, or 54 percent of Americans, said they plan to attend Christmas services this year, compared with 69 percent who said they did it as children. That’s compared with 36 percent who say they go to church in a typical week.

Younger adults were the least likely to see Christmas as a religious holiday, at 39 percent, compared with 66 percent of those aged 65 or older, according to the poll.

Younger adults interviewed were also somewhat less likely to believe in the virgin birth. A total of 66 percent of adults between 18 and 29 believe that Jesus was miraculously begotten by God, compared with 76 percent of all other adults, the poll found.

When asked what they most looked forward to about Christmas and the holidays, the vast majority, at 69 percent, said spending time with family and friends. Asked what they liked least, one-third cited commercialism, while 22 percent said the season was too expensive.

The survey interviewed 2,001 U.S. adults between Dec. 3 and 8, by landline and cell phone. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Visions of Christmas: Seeing White.


Visions of Christmas: Seeing White

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.
Acts 2:46

Recommended Reading
1 Corinthians 14:33 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%201%20Corinthians%2014:33&version=NKJV)

Our modern Christian activities are much more elaborate and complicated than those of the early church. That’s not to say their lives weren’t complicated. In any age, the duties of life seem to expand to fill the time and resources available. Yet Luke, the author of Acts, noted something about the early Christians. He didn’t say their life was simple, but he did say they lived their lives with “simplicity of heart” (Acts 2:46). Is it possible to live with simplicity of heart in a busy season like Christmas? It must be. If the early Christians did it from week to week, we can surely do it at Christmas.

Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/television.aspx?tid=email_watchedevo )

We don’t know exactly what Luke meant by his words, but it must have something to do with staying focused on the basics which he mentioned in verse 42: teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. What are the basics of Christmas? Love, generosity, worship, service, giving, contemplation, gratitude, and others.

Like a pure white garment (Revelation 19:8), keep this Christmas clutter free by living with simplicity of heart.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
1 Timothy 12 Timothy 4

By David Jeremiah.

A Great Holiday Idea for Fathers.


images/articles/Blogs/New_Man/Dad-Christmas.jpg
Christmas Dad

Joshua is an active Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) dad at his child’s school who came up with a great idea for the holiday season.

Like in many other families—especially those that put emphasis on their faith during the holidays—he and his wife use an Advent calendar to help them and their young sons count down the days in anticipation of Christmas. Maybe you do something similar—and there are all kinds of great resources to help if you wanted to start this.

Well, a few years back, Joshua was working long hours and couldn’t always be there with his wife and his boys to go through the daily Advent readings and activities. So he started his own special calendar for the holidays. And you know what he called it?

DADvent—of course.

His DADvent calendar was all about simply having fun with his sons, holiday style. He used it as a reminder to do something special for his sons every day leading up to Christmas.

With his schedule, many times that meant doing things while the boys slept. One night he decorated their rooms with paper snowflakes that they saw first thing in the morning. Another night he strung lights from corner to corner. Then there was the night he put up a Christmas tree in each bedroom without waking them up.

Joshua knew it was worth all the late nights and lack of sleep when he heard his 11-year-old say that DADvent activities were a “great memory” and a tradition he looks forward to every year.

And Joshua found that once he was in the habit, these special things spread into other parts of the year. And he started doing similar things for his bride as well.

If you wanted to really follow the Advent calendar, we’ve already missed the first couple of weeks or so. But there’s no reason you can’t start right now. Joshua doesn’t mind if you use his idea. Go ahead and call it “DADvent.”

But whatever you call it, the important part is your attitude and your commitment to make the holidays fun for your kids this year. How cool would it be for them if every day between now and December 25th, you came up with some kind of surprise or small gift or even just spent a few minutes doing something they enjoy?

Maybe you can bake cookies, do a crazy craft project, make some paper angels or whatever. You can find all kinds of ideas online. And the cost would likely be almost nothing.

Here’s an idea: On the way home from work today or sometime tomorrow, pick up four boxes of candy canes and hang them on every hook, ledge or doorknob in your home. Announce the official beginning of DADvent, and watch the expressions on your kids’ faces.

So, dad, how do you make the holidays special for your children? Share your ideas with other dads either below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Dads on the Fathering Journey

  • Tell your kids about a holiday tradition that was special for you as a child. Maybe surprise them by doing something similar this year.
  • Be purposeful this year about finding ways to have fun as a family—and avoid the common holiday stressors. Consider relaxing a household rule for a few weeks to give your kids the impression that it’s a “special” time.
  • Lead your family in spreading the true spirit of the holidays this season by helping someone else who has a need. And prepare to learn something! Often kids can be more sensitive to people’s needs than we are.
  • Buy a gift for the whole family that everyone can enjoy together, or invest in an activity you can all do together.
  • As you decide on gifts for your kids, start thinking about gifts of time that you can also give—like redeemable coupons or a commitment to enjoy a new toy or game with him or her.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS / NEW MAN.

CAREY CASEY

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “YesI want tips on how to be a great dad who lives out loving, coaching and modeling for my children.”

Message of Jesus Proclaimed Unexpectedly.


SeaWorld's 'O Wondrous Night.'
SeaWorld‘s ‘O Wondrous Night.’ (Facebook)

Like most families, ours has certain traditions for Christmas. Since we live in Orlando, often we will take advantage of the special Christmas programs at some of the theme parks. Over the years, we have enjoyed the Christmas processional at Epcot, where they read the Christmas story from the Bible and have local choirs involved and sing Christmas carols. It’s a beautiful, traditional experience.

Some of the other theme parks, such as Universal, tend to go the politically correct route by calling their festivities “holiday traditions” and titling their program “Naughty or Nice.” I’m simply speculating, but I’m sure they focus more on the naughty than the nice.

When I learned about SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration, it was a pleasant surprise. While it includes a lot of things that are extra-scriptural, such as Santa Claus and Christmas trees, it also includes some very respectful presentations of the Christmas story. Without being religious or proselytizing, the program allows the gospel message to speak for itself with the simple story from the New Testament in which the Christ child was born in a manager in Bethlehem to become the Savior of the world.

Last weekend we took our family, including our 4-year-old grandson, Cohen, to SeaWorld and enjoyed several shows. The Shamu show included a gospel singer singing about “the miracle” of Christmas. But the best show was called “O Wondrous Night.”

The program contained creative renditions of most of the traditional Christmas carols, like “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” “The First Noel,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Away in a Manger.” Performers danced and sang with the excitement of a Christmas presentation at an African-American church.

I posted a clip on Facebook showing the singing, the dancing and the creative way they told the story through the eyes of the animals, with puppets as the performers. Any church would have been proud of such a program had they had the budget. With the crescendo, real animals were brought in as the singers danced and sang their way through a medley of choruses.

The message of the gospel came through loud and clear, and the crowd loved it, giving a standing ovation.

Throughout our time at SeaWorld, we noticed people did not seem self-conscious about using the wordChristmas or saying “Merry Christmas,” and it made me wonder why a predominantly Christian nation has attempted to neuter this happiest of all holidays.

If you plan to be in Orlando or if you live within driving distance, I urge you to take advantage of this very special presentation. The cost of a day’s admission during the Christmas season turns into an annual pass and allows my family and me to enjoy the very special exhibits and animal shows several times throughout the year.

The program runs through Dec. 31.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

If you have attended SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration or if you’ve seen other wonderful shows that glorify the real meaning of Christmas, please share them in the comments below. And let SeaWorld know you appreciate this even-handed treatment of the traditional Christmas story by sending an email to SWF.PR@SeaWorld.com.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

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