Expectations at Christmas: Birth, Tragedy, and Purpose

Baby SLeepingThe media’s depiction of Christmas leaves us expecting it to be the most wonderful time of the year. And I hope your Christmas is awesome!

But sometimes your expectations at Christmas get disappointed.

The Hallmark channel doesn’t always get it right. You don’t always get a boyfriend for Christmas. Your son or daughter doesn’t always come home for the holidays. You don’t always get a box of firewood and food on your front porch. Families don’t always reconcile on December 25.

The first Christmas was about the birth of a Baby. And what can create greater expectations than the birth of a baby?!

Satan tried to turn that first Christmas into a tragedy. And he’s trying to do the same thing to your Christmas this year.

But thank God that’s not the end of the story! Divine intervention kept Satan from accomplishing his plan at the birth of Jesus. And the same Divine intervention can keep him from accomplishing the tragedy he wants to create in your life.

As an OB-Gyn physician, I love to tell new parents as often as I can, “A new baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on!”

And this Christmas is God’s opinion that YOUR world should go on too!

Are unrealistic or failed expectations stirring up the Holiday Blues for you this year? You’re not alone.

If you haven’t signed up to receive our Beating the Holiday Blues series, you’re missing a lot! Today’s video is about dealing with good, bad, and failed expectations, and what God has to say to you at Christmas about that.

And I have some very specific suggestions about how you can Overcome the Holiday Blues this Christmas.

You can access these FREE videos here. I hope you’ll join me!

YES! Help me Beat the Holiday Blues!

Let’s beat the Holiday Blues together!

Tweetables: won’t you help someone else find help to beat the holiday blues?

  • Singing the blues? Get some FREE help to Overcome the Holiday Blues this season.        Tweet that.
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Politics, Faith, and Fear

Politics, Faith, and Fear

Politics and FaithPolitics and faith have clashed even more strongly during this election year in the United States. People on both sides of the political spectrum are angry with the way things are, and are lashing out verbally, with their votes, and sometimes with violence. It’s easy to find Christians with specific political views denouncing other believers with different political views in the most un-Christian of terms on social media and in other formats.

The “issues” run the gamut:

  • Abortion
  • Immigration
  • Support or non-support of Israel
  • LGBT/gender/sexuality issues
  • Poverty and jobs vs. corporate “greed” and freedom
  • Racism (or at least perceived racism)
  • Terrorism
  • The place of Christianity in society

And there are many more.

Much of the response of many Christians comes from a place of fear; fear that our ability as Christians to practice our faith will be curtailed, fear that a certain government policy or official will make a ruling that goes against our Christian faith, fear that our standing as Christians in society will become further marginalized, fear that our beliefs will not be supported by those in power, fear that world views other that what we hold as believers will gain broader acceptance.

Perhaps those fears are well founded, in the sense that the Christian characteristics of our country, as we have experienced them in the past, are changing. But in one sense, so what? Fear never comes from God. Change by itself is not bad; it may be good. When we feel ourselves shrink back in fear, it’s time to remember Paul’s words; “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) God’s truth is truth, and His kingdom will prevail whether our society is friendly or hostile to it.

Jesus never responded with fear. But He never responded with violence either. He saw beneath and behind people’s social or political beliefs to their true motivations, and He called them to allegiance to a kingdom not of this world. (John 18:36) Social issues are not unimportant, but they are not the most important. Among His disciples He included Matthew – a tax collector collaborating with the Romans, and Simon – a Zealot who would gladly have stabbed Matthew in the back if he caught him alone before they both came to know Jesus.

Politics are not unimportant.

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Is Someone Else In Charge Of Your Health?

Is Someone Else In Charge Of Your Health?

HallwayPerhaps you’re like many of those I talk with. You feel powerless. Stuck. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

And it seems that no one cares.

Well, you’re right! NOBODY CARES that you’re tired, sick, powerless, and stuck. At least nobody else on earth. Not really. Not enough to really make a difference. Not the kind of difference that will make you healthy and strong.

Nobody really cares that much about your wellbeing:

  • Not your doctor
  • Not your pharmacist
  • Not the hospital
  • Not the government
  • Not your health insurance company
  • Not your employer

Your doctor really does have your best interest at heart (I know; I am one!), but she can’t be with you every day. The government tries to institute policy that improves public health, but they don’t know anything at all about you. Your health insurance company is making decisions based on profit, and those decisions may or may not be good for your health.

And when it comes down to it, do you really want to leave your health in the hands of someone else? Anyone else? Certainly not some impersonal monstrous corporation, someone who may have competing interests, or some person or committee that may be thinking about thousands – or millions – of people instead of you!

Here’s the cold hard truth: No one cares about you and your health more than you do!

But that’s really wonderful news. You don’t have to leave your health – or your healthcare – up to anyone else!

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Where is that Peace on Earth?

Where is that Peace on Earth?

Church BellsI heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth goodwill to men.

Every year during the holiday season I hear from those who wish Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s didn’t exist on the calendar. It’s usually not because they thing giving thanks is wrong, or that they don’t believe in the miracle of the Christ-child being born in Bethlehem. No, it’s usually because of their own sadness, loneliness, or hurt.

Seeing others looking happy at holiday events, hearing upbeat Christmas music on the radio, being unable to escape the commercialism and decorations and images of joy – all that can make your own heart bleed if that’s not where you are right now. There are many for whom Christmas is anything but merry.

Perhaps that’s you. Perhaps the family gatherings you anticipate are certain to be filled with more conflict, anger, or trauma than joy. Or perhaps you have no family gatherings to anticipate at all. Perhaps you’re facing your first Christmas without someone you loved. Perhaps memories of Christmases past bring up feelings of fear, shame, or regret. Or perhaps the season only serves to remind you of what feels like a total lack of loving people in your life.

This year there’s much to NOT be joyful about.

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Preparing for Marriage when you Carry Bad Baggage

Preparing for Marriage when you Carry Bad Baggage

None of us goes through life baggage-free. But some of us seem to accumulate more than our fair share of negative stuff in the “personal relationships” category. That type of baggage often sets a person up for misery or failure if and when they get married. Preparing for marriage can seem like preparing to be hurt, damaged, exploited, or just another “statistic” in a long list of failed and miserable life experiences.

But such misery or failure is not inevitable. I want to share with you what I learned about preparing for marriage – and doing it successfully – even while carrying bad baggage in that department. When I told my friend Evelyn Davison my story, she said “You’ve got to share this with people! There are lots of them who need to hear this.”

The messages, models, and memories I had accumulated growing up did not afford me a very positive outlook when it came to marriage. I knew intellectually that God created marriage, intimacy, and families, and that He intended it all to be “very good!” But I also had my own bad baggage that interfered with my emotional reactions to those topics.

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