Hope in Christmas 2016

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Are you excited this Christmas or worried? The cattle market isn’t for the faint of heart. Prices were lower this year and some are worried about how to keep going. It isn’t just for the cattle market though–this time of year depresses many in other occupations as well. What do you do when things are hard? How is Christmas still bright?

“Fear not, for I bring you good tidings and great joy, which shall be to all people.”

I have a lot of faith in those words and in the God who makes things possible. I hope that when I speak of my beliefs, no one feels pressured or offended. Each person has a free will and I want to respect an individual’s right to choose. Yet at the same time, when something makes your life better, you naturally want to share it.

The last year has been difficult for us. If it could break, it has. If it couldn’t, it’s found a way to break anyway. Projects that should take five minutes take five days. We encountered several health challenges. It has felt like we were walking upstream. In the spring. After a winter full of snow…

But that’s not all. We have also enjoyed time with family. We’ve seen our kids’ sports games. We’ve had plenty of food in the fridge and heat in the house. We all have clothes. We even were able to do more remodeling on our house we’re fixing up.

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I have a dear friend who knows my love of words and each year on my birthday she gives me a word. I love it. A couple years ago, she gave me PERSPECTIVE painted on a piece of barn wood. It’s hanging above our piano. It reminds me that what I focus on grows inside me. So either my problems loom larger and larger or my blessings keep piling up. I forget that I choose my perspective. But I’m so blessed. And there is hope. Even when prices are low. Even when things look dark. There is always something for which I can be thankful.

We are buying more cows. It’s risky. Every time we do this, I wonder what the future holds. But being in the cattle business involves risk. There are times when money is lost and times when money is made. We pray and do our best, but it does involve risk.

I don’t know what your situation holds this year. I hope it is bright and full of optimism. However, if Christmas makes you feel like you never have enough money or you are worried about the future, I hope you take comfort in the words of Christ. “Fear not, for I have overcome the world.” I know, words don’t pay the bills. BUT, since He created the universe, I’d have to say He’s the most creative being ever and He isn’t surprised by the decisions we’ve made. His love is unconditional. Which means, if we’ve made poor choices (I know I have); He is STILL waiting and willing to help us. How? Ask Him. Maybe you’ve never talked to Him before. That’s ok. He’s there. Maybe you’ve talked to Him a lot, but don’t feel like He’s answering; He’s still there.

Still need practical steps? Me too. How do we make the holidays better?

  • Look for things you are thankful for. Make a list. Tell someone. Practice thankfulness.
  • Look at assets. What can we sell? What should we keep? Maybe we hold on to a few more cows this year, but sell that trailer we never use.
  • Make Christmas presents. I’m not crafty. AT ALL. Yet, I love baking and bake for people at Christmas. Do whatever you like to do and share it.
  • Spend time with someone rather than opening your wallet. A special outing can be more memorable than a wrapped gift.
  • Write notes as gifts telling people how you love them or how they make your life better.

Christmas isn’t something we have to get through. It’s a new beginning. Close your eyes and see the baby in the manger. It didn’t look “right” at all. But all those things added up to make something remarkable and out-of-this-world. Our frustrating and odd puzzle pieces in life are never wasted in the hands of God. He used death by conquering it to bring LIFE. May Christmas bring hope and life!

 

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