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‘Tis the Season

“ ‘Tis the Season” is often heard this time of year, but what does it really mean? Does it mean the winter season is here? Technically, it is winter, and this year in Houston it is cooler that usual. So it really feels like winter. Who knows, this may even be one of the years that Houston gets snow. It is rare, but it could happen.
“ ‘Tis the Season” could mean it is the time to go out and give generously (maybe too generously for our budgets). It is definitely a time that we think of giving; giving to family and friends and to the less fortunate. This is the time of year we count our blessings.
“ ‘Tis the Season” could also be a season of rest. Schools are out for a time, so teachers rest but parents don’t. Most work places give time off for Christmas. Here at Houston Baptist University it is a time to fit in a fast term after a break.
“ ‘Tis the Season” may also be a season of travel. Many of us travel to be with family or have family members travel here. It is certainly a time of family.
To me, however, “ ‘Tis the Season” means Christmas. Christmas! The real reason for Christmas is the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Just the mention of HIS name brings joy and celebration. This is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Did Mary know that the child she delivered would one day deliver all of us from sin? Did Mary know that this season would bring to all of us the perfect gift, the perfect family, the perfect season? Did Mary know that her son, Jesus, would one day do miracles of walking on water, healing the sick, raising the dead, making the blind to see and the deaf to hear? Did she know that one day her son, Jesus, would take on the sins of the world and shed HIS blood for them that we might be saved from the death that sin requires? Did Mary know that her son, Jesus , would rule the world, not as an earthly king, but a Heavenly one? I doubt she thought of all that as she looked into the precious face of her baby, but she did know it was a fulfillment of God’s Word and the Old Testament prophesy.
Because of all of this it truly “ ‘Tis the Season” to rejoice and be exceedingly glad, because Our Father in Heaven loves us enough to send HIS son.

This is the day the Lord has made!

 This is the day that the Lord has made.

By: Dr. Sharon A. Lewis, Associate Professor Reading Education

Yesterday I looked out of the restaurant window and saw the amazing double rainbow. When I tried to take a picture of that double rainbow, I somehow had it on video. Being technology challenged, I didn’t know how to capture just one slide for a picture. So I had to find this one on the internet. That doesn’t change my thoughts though at seeing this amazing sight. The first thought I had was, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Sometimes we sing these words but don’t really let them sink in. As Dr. Sloan said in Opening Convocation, yesterday is gone and we must put our efforts into today. God has given us this day and we need to rejoice about all the good things it will bring even in (and maybe especially in) times that are challenging. Each and every day is a gift from God.

Think about the technical aspects of a day. It is one rotation of the earth. It has a sunrise and a sunset. It lasts for 24 hours. Oh, what we can do with that time. Romans 1:12 tells us that we encourage each other in faith. Reach out to a friend or classmate and give them a word of encouragement. It is a small effort, but has a huge payoff. You may not see the payoff, but it is there.

Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D. tells of an incident in his life where he was angry about arrangements that he made for a presentation that got changed at the last minute and threatened to damage the entire presentation. He got into his car and literally screamed at the top of his lungs, because he was so frustrated. He recounts the incident like this:

I drove up to the toll booth and dug into his pocket to pay the toll. The tollbooth

person said, “There is no toll for you today, sir.”

“Don’t start with me,” I said in a huff. “Just take my money, please.”

“The car in front of you paid the toll. He said to tell you it was a random act of

kindness — and to have a nice day.”

“What?”

“It has never happened before. He actually gave me more than what your toll is and told me to apply any leftovers to the car behind you.”

“Really?”

“Really.” (D. Tomasulo, Ask the Therapist blog)

That person wasn’t there to see that his or her actions totally turn around an angry day into one of blessing.

Psalm 81:10 says that God will fill us and all we have to do is receive it and then do something with it. God used this unknown person to fill Dr. Tomasulo and change his day just as He can use you to change someone else’s day. Psalm 118: 24 reminds us that we are to rejoice in what the Lord has done this day. When you do something for someone else, it will come back to you. It may not be right away, but it will happen. You’ve heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around.”

Dr. Tomasulo had another lesson for us. He referred to a study by Dr. Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania. Who, after years of studying depression, came up with an activity called, Three Blessings. ( http://www.buildingpersonalstrength.com/2010/09/dr-martin-seligman-three-blessings.html) The task is simple enough. As your day comes to a close, allow yourself to think about three things that happened during the day that you are most happy about, and why you believe they happened. The outcome from doing this exercise is astonishing. Participants doing this exercise for one week increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms for six months.” (D. Tomasulo, Ask the Therapist blog) Think what could happen if you did it every day.

Our world is often full of bad news. The issues in Syria, the killing of a visiting soccer player, the average American income has gone down $2300 this year, and it goes on. Amid all of that, God is there comforting us and blessing us.

Every day is a chance to do something. You can’t change yesterday and you don’t know what tomorrow holds, but you can rejoice in today. Each day is a gift from God and we want to use it well.

Alexander in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day, Very Bad Day wanted to run away to Australia. That might seem like an answer, but a better response is to run to God. He will provide and comfort.

I challenge you to count your blessings tonight and to write them down each night for a week. What difference will it make for you? Remember that we can’t change unless we are humble enough to learn. How you view each day is up to you. Have a blessed day!

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