Christmas Tree bought and decorated: check
Lights hung outside the house: check
Inside decorations up, cookie recipe ingredients bought, Christmas card picture taken: check, check and check.
Time spent with God:….uh, maybe, hopefully…tomorrow! (After we finish buying teacher gifts, wrapping some presents and addressing Christmas cards!)
One of the great omissions of the Christmas season is our personal time with God. The very reason we’re doing all of this is to celebrate someone who loves us.
So love Him back.
Start each day with God, and you’re far more likely to remember Him in all your moments. And that’s not just better for you, but it’s significantly better for everyone around you too.
Here are six more holiday tips that can make your holiday more peaceful all around.
1 – Create realistic expectations
If the secret to happiness is low expectations, then set realistic expectations for the holidays.
Take your expectations and cut them in half. You might find some joy in the process.
2 – Set a reasonable pace
When I was in school, my last exam would finish on December 23rd. I’d have 24 hours to get everything ready. I’d run into Christmas exhausted.
Now, theoretically, I could start preparing in July. But I still tend to leave it too late.
A sustainable pace creates a sustainable peace. And who doesn’t need that?
3 – Expect the unexpected
I don’t like surprises, but Christmas is full of them.
If you expect surprise guests, surprise commitments, surprise interruptions and surprise expenses, you won’t be as a surprised. And you’ll be much more gracious.
4 – Agree on a budget
Peace on earth is one thing. Peace in January is another.
If you agree on a budget for everything and everyone ahead of time, you will significant reduce your stress before Christmas.
5 – Say no
You don’t have to go to every Christmas party or send cards to everyone you know.
When you say no to the less important things, you’re saying yes to what matters most.
6 – Rest
Someone once said 70% of discipleship is a good night’s sleep. There’s some truth in that.
If you’re rattled, frazzled and angry, go to bed.
You are at your most kind when you’re at your most rested.
Find your people and belong, believe and grow in the new year! Whatever age or stage you are, and wherever you are in your faith journey, we have a place for you! This January, we have two ways for you to connect: (1) a short-term study or (2) an existing group.
Find your people and belong, believe and grow in an existing group! We have groups for all ages and life stages, no matter where you are in your faith journey. To get connected into a group, fill out this form with some of your basic contact and demographic information. Then, a member of our team will contact you with a few tailored suggestions of small groups for you!
Encountering Grace (in person or hybrid pilot, Jan. 30-Feb. 20; Noon, 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays) You may have heard the word “grace” used before, but what does it really mean? How do we receive grace, and how can we show it to others? No matter where you are in your faith journey, join us to explore these questions and more in this four-week study. Hybrid participants will be given a link to participate via a video or traditional conference call.
Disciple’s Path (in person, Jan. 23-Feb. 27 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays) Learn more about what it means to be a Christian and a United Methodist and what steps you can take to grow in your faith. This is a six-week video study. Participants may join the church at the end of this study, if they choose.
According to the 2017 Homeless Count in Hillsborough County, there are at least 1,549 homeless men, women and children in Tampa-Hillsborough County nightly who are sleeping on the streets, behind buildings, in encampments, in cars, emergency shelters and transitional housing (http://thhi.org/about-homelessness). With homelessness comes food insecurity which is affecting about one in four children and one in six adults in the Tampa Bay area, according to Feeding Tampa Bay. That is thousands of people who often do not know where they are going to get their next meal.
Antonia Mason (Girl Scout Troop 268) has selected food insecurity among the homeless as her root cause for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. She will be bringing a Little Free Pantry to our neighborhood. The Little Free Pantry movement began in 2016. The pantries are described as “a grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to an immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, the Little Free Pantry facilitates neighbors helping neighbors, building community.” (littlefreepantry.org).
On Dec. 16, 2018, a Little Free Pantry will be located at the Madison Building located at 401 S. Magnolia Ave. This pantry will be accessible 24/7.
Please consider dropping off non-perishable food items, preferably those not requiring heating or a can opener. Here are some suggested non-perishable food items:
- Single serving peanut butter and/or jelly
- Pop tarts
- Granola and other snack bars
- Protein bars
- Vienna sausages
- Canned or packaged meats, such as tuna, salmon, turkey and chicken
- Snack bags such as crackers and peanut butter, crackers and cheese
- Beef jerky
- Slim Jims
- Hard candy
- Breath mints
- Rice Krispy Treats
- Nuts in re-sealable containers
- Dried fruits in re-sealable containers
- Canned fruit and fruit cups
- Trail mix
- Drinks such as Capri Sun, water, juice
- Plastic utensils
- Napkins or hand wipes/sanitizer
Our kids help prepare breakfast and serve our Open Arms Guests.
3rd Graders – Join us Jan. 13. Register here.
Meet at 7:30 a.m. in Wesley Center Room 308 for an important orientation. Serving will take place in the Harnish Activities Center and should wrap up by 9:15 a.m. For kids that are staying, we will take them up to Sunday Morning Live for 9:30 programming. At least one parent is encouraged to come as well!
Avoid the mall madness and provide meaningful gifts.
We are offering everyone another option for gifts. Honor your friends and family by making a contribution to one of our mission partners, that range from working to end hunger worldwide to assisting local farm workers to helping families in poverty in our city.
Shopping couldn’t be easier.
The Gift List is a great way to bless those on your Christmas list with gifts that keep on giving to those in need.
When you donate to missions on the Gift List, you’ll receive cards as presents for friends, family, colleagues, clients, indicating gifts given in their honor. The cards describe how those gifts can change the lives of people served by the missions you choose.
Browse The List. Make your selections. Submit your payment.