A very Merry Christmas greeting from CHD Director, Lee Webster.More
It’s interesting to note that the first Christmas recipients (those at the birth of Christ) were not aware that a plan had been set in motion which would lead to Easter. In fact, if they had been told about Easter then, they probably would have agreed with the song by 4 Him titled “What a Strange Way to Save the World” (see the video here).
All through the narrative of Jesus’ life, we see the evidence that no one had close to the right idea of how Jesus would fulfill the promise of “making all things new and right”. When they did finally catch a glimpse of what his idea of “fixing everything” looked like, most of them didn’t understand how this was God’s best solution. Yet, everyone was excited about his birth and the idea that God was enacting this long awaited promise of salvation! If you want to hear the message first hand, read Luke 2:1-20!
I am reminded that we are often like those first recipients in our daily lives. We are looking for, waiting for, possibly expecting, God to heal our hurts and make things right. But sometimes, His ways of using people and taking time and allowing process and pain don’t always make sense to us. This is when we learn the true meaning of Hope. If we believe that God is only Good, loves us and wants what is best for us, is powerful enough to do what He wants, and creative enough to make it happen no matter what else is complicating that, then we are experiencing Hope the way those first hurting souls did too.
This Hope isn’t something unsure as in, “I really hope this happens!”. This Hope is a truly believed-in-expectation that we simply haven’t experienced all the way yet.
Be encouraged this Christmas if you have need to remember that no matter what you are going through, if Christ is your Savior, the solution, healing, and restoration will come! Keep doing whatever it is you have been given to do and trust Him to be who has always been – Your Perfect Chain-Breaking, Way-Making, Compassionate, Understanding Father.
Merry Christmas! This is Hope!More
Do you believe in Easter?
Maybe I should explain that question.
The thing about Easter is that it’s really a combination of a memorial holiday for the single greatest event in human history – and a celebration of the promise, which that event secured for all of us who believe in it. Got it? A memorial of an event – and a celebration of a promise!
Easter is a joyful memorial of the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ following his redemptive and sacrificial death on the cross! Without Easter, Christians would have no faith! It’s because of this historical event that we are gifted with the opportunity to know our Creator’s love and purpose, both individually and as a Church.
But Easter is also about the fact that Jesus is coming back! We don’t celebrate Easter simply because our Savior rose. We celebrate Easter because we know what it means to truly hope. We know that all the crazy, unjust, broken, perverted, mangled, and complicated junk we deal with in this world is eventually going to be made right. This mess we have made is not the end. A literal new beginning will come one day, and the perfect King will be in charge of making All Things new! He didn’t stay dead! He’s alive and coming back!
No matter how bad life gets, how hopeless elections seem, how unsecure the global economy looks, Easter reminds us that something incomparably better, real and lasting is coming. How does that sound? Hope it’s encouraging, because that’s what Easter is meant to be. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that through all the daily living. If you need help, we’re here.
Do you believe in Easter?More
It is believed that the Babylonians in Mesopotamia were the first to celebrate New Year’s in 2000 B.C. At that time, New Year’s occurred in mid-March. The Babylonians would make promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and repay their debts. They believed if they kept their promises, the gods would bestow good things for them throughout the year.
Julius Caesar’s reign over ancient Rome made a change in the months of the year. Caesar added the month of January and named the month for the Roman god, Janus. Resolutions were repeated annually and renewed the bond between the citizens, the state and the gods. Ancient Roman citizens would reflect on their past and look toward the coming year. The people would trade sweet fruits and honey with each other.
The early Christians believed the start of the New Year should be a time to reflect on past mistakes and work on self-improvement. At that time, the resolutions were more about treating other people kindly and seeking forgiveness from their enemies. By the end of the 18th century, many resolutions involved being more helpful, more diligent and to be a better person.
Isidor Thorner, an American Theologist, did a survey in 1951 to determine the relationship between Protestant values and New Year resolutions. The New Year resolutions according to Thorner helped Protestants manage their emotions. Over time, New Year’s resolutions lost their religious meaning and became a tradition with the general population. Listed below is a comparison of resolutions between 1947 and 2014.
Resolutions for 1947 – Gallup Poll
- Improve disposition, be more understanding, control temper
- Improve my character, live a better life
- Stop smoking, smoke less
- Save more money
- Stop drinking, drink less
- Be more religious, go to church more often
- Be more efficient, do a better job
- Take better care of my health
- Contribute more in home life
- Lose (or gain) weight
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others in their dreams
- Fall in love
10. Spend more time with family
According to a study done in 2007 by Richard Wiseman, approximately 88% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail. The study showed 52% of the 3,000 participants were confident they would succeed in fulfilling their resolution.
So, what about a New Year’s resolution for 2016? Is your resolution going to focus on:
Returning borrowed objects and repaying debts?
Keeping promises to others?
Renewing a bond between yourself and the state?
Reflecting on past mistakes and working on self-improvement?
Whichever New Year’s resolution you choose, make sure that it is obtainable and realistic. Lastly, make sure the resolution is accountable by sharing it with someone else. Make it known to this accountability person that you want them to ask you how you are doing with keeping the resolution.
Dave Tice is a licensed professional counselor at the Center with over 6 years of counseling experience. To learn more about Dave, or to set up an appointment, click here.More
By this time, most people are already well into the “Holiday Spirit”. Unfortunately, for many, that means being overcommitted, over taxed, over spent and often frustrated with commitments or behaviors of friends, colleagues or other family members. Somehow this season of “joy and peace”, celebrating the coming of the Savior, is anything but that for many. There are many articles written about how to avoid holiday stress, but my suggestion is to see it as a gift.
I have been a therapist for many years and have taught numerous “Stress Management” Seminars. What I have learned is that distress and symptoms are positive, a gift if you may. Seminar leader, Gary Thomas, in his book Sacred Marriage, raises the question “what if Marriage was not intended to make people happy but to make them holy”. The same principle applies to the symptoms of distress—they point to area’s in which we may need to consider change.
- Over-spending- perhaps it is time to review spending habits
- Alcohol consumption- consider moderation, or even quitting
- Over commitment- time management
- Guilt or shame- grace to self and others
- Relationships—reconciliation, or perhaps a change in plans, or associations
- Over-eating- a healthy diet plan
- Lack of sleep- a plan for self-care
- Sadness or grief- the need for expression and support
The list goes on and on, but to be certain, each symptom has a cause and points to a remedy which results in good self-care and stress management techniques. We tend to look at symptoms as being negative and increasing our distress, but they point to the need for solutions. What if I were to ignore a pain in my side that was pointing to an appendicitis? Are stress symptoms any different? The tendency is to overlook, or deny them, which only makes them worse and increases the probability that they will continue, or intensify. Stress is characterized by a “fight, flight or freeze” response, but is intended to initiate us to action for our health.
There are some problems that have been persistent and resist individual attempts to change them. They may have become such a pattern that they resist correction by all of your “resolutions.” Rather than give up, seek out support from a trusted friend, mentor, pastor, or counselor. As a counselor and professional therapist, I am only too much aware that people often seek out help “too little, or too late.”
This holiday season, look on your symptoms as a “gift” that point the way to healing and peace– the indicators of good New Year’s resolutions to grow and change!
Lee Webster is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over 40 years of counseling experience. He is also the founder and clinical director of the Center for Human Development. To learn more about Lee click here.More