During our small group time at “A TD Christmas” Michael shared his “gift” to Jesus – reflections on his past, and how to “do Christmas better” going forward. I thought it would be really useful and helpful for us to keep in mind in these final days before Christmas … and for the rest of the holiday season! Thanks, Michael! – Arthur
What I Would Have Told My Younger Self
Knowing that I’ll be spending my last (ever!) semester of school at home in the coming months, I reflected on what advice I would give to myself at the beginning of high school, when I still felt I had life figured all out. Turns out I didn’t, and hopefully you can relate.
Here are seven things I would have done differently during the holiday season:
1. Appreciate what you normally can’t or don’t
Go outdoors (your computer can wait)! Or enjoy a moment of silence – reflect on your year, pray knowing that your innermost feelings can be trusted to God, and ponder life’s intriguing mysteries.
2. Don’t let possessions possess you
This year, I was shocked to find that shops were opening on Thanksgiving night to attract customers before Black Friday normally starts. As a result, people were sacrificing valuable family time and cutting off their dinners early to line up for bargains; but when you think about it, are the “benefits” really worth the cost?
Within the context of gift-giving, exchanging expensive presents is one way to show someone you care, but not the only way. Time is money, too! What about treating that friend to dinner and hiking on a trail that overlooks the magnificent Los Angeles nighttime cityscape?
3. A positive attitude brings good cheer
Even if you’re not a big fan of this season, there’s no need to ruin it for others. For the past few years, I’ve thought that I was too old for the fun of Christmas, so I spent my time working and studying at the expense of the rest of my family’s experience. Looking back, I realize how big of a difference a small change in attitude could have made.
4. Take the time to decorate yourself
The tree is in the living room, the lights are up, the fireplace is lit…but remember that as Christ’s temple, you could use some decoration too! Consider how you could clean up bad habits and patch the holes (the inconsistencies) of your life. Then, when others look at you, you’ll be representing the body of Christ as best you can!
5. Give others the gift of…you!
Whether it’s volunteering, caroling at the convalescent home, or just lending an ear to listen, there are so many valuable contributions you can make to your community. Be proactive in finding these opportunities, and you’ll be blessed in return. Read Luke 14:13 if you need some inspiration.
6. Do yourself a favor and set some goals
Make a list, check it twice. If you’ve been naughty, resolve to be nice. Stick to your goal, no matter the price. Talk to a counselor, should you need some advice.
7. Remember Romans 14:8
Paul kindly reminds us that “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” In every situation that you’re in, make decisions that reflect who and what you live for!
– Michael Ruan