★ Day 10 – Reason for the Season – What is the Spirit of Christmas? ★

#Daily Dependence - Reason for the Season - 25 Days of Thankfulness 110 - Daily Dependence - Advent Wreath 2The second purple candle that is lit on the Advent Wreath represents Peace and today’s “Reason for the Season” is going to explore how we can experience that in the midst of a busy season by making the choice to live out each day with the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts.  Let me ask you; are you a Little House on the Prairie fan?  If not, I strongly urge you to start binge watching it on Netflix or set the DVR to record it from the Hallmark Channel.  10 - Daily Dependence - Little House in the Prairie castIt is without a doubt, one of the most outstanding TV shows, which to this day, my family and I continue to watch daily!  For those not familiar, Little House on the Prairie (LHOTP) first aired in 1974 (the year I was born.)  It is a pioneer/western TV drama adapted from the books that Laura Ingalls Wilder authored about her life in Plum Creek, Minnesota.  41 years later, this timeless classic TV show is just as relevant in teaching great life principles in a realistic but uplifting way, as it was when it first hit the airways!  Growing up I had heard of LHOTP but never really watched it.  I came to love the show later in my life, when my wife introduced me to it in our first year of marriage.  I remember so clearly watching every night in our one bedroom apartment, the episode that we had recorded that day on the VCR player, (if you have no idea what that is, consider yourself blessed!  Hahaha!)

One of my absolute favorite episodes is “Christmas at Plum Creek,” in which each member of the Ingalls family works hard, and makes great sacrifices in order to buy or make gifts for each other.  Though none of them has much money, they want to make the first Christmas in their new home a special celebration.  One of the repeated lines in the episode about Christmas coming, is that

“It is a time for secrets and not to ask questions.”

And my family and I even say that to each other as a result.  [ Spoiler Alert ] The part that gets me every time is when they are opening their presents and Caroline10 - Daily Dependence - Little House in the Prairie Opening Presents (Ma) is dying to know what is in the giant box next to her, (reminds me of the child-like anticipation and curiosity of my wife!)  Believing it is from Pa (Michael Landon), she is shocked to find out that it is actually from her little girl Laura, who sold her beloved horse “Bunny” so that she cold but the stove for her!   Every time, I chock up watching the sacrificial spirit of that act of love…which every time results my daughters laughing and regaling that “Daddy’s crying again!”  I cannot emphasis how great the show is.  Laura Ingalls Wilder penned this beautiful sentiment…

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

I so love that.  Before Christmas I challenge you to stream this episode and experience this tangible example of what the Spirit of Christmas is for yourself.  The Spirit of Christmas is not about getting stuff (as we looked at on ★ Day 04 – Reason for the Season – Christmas Consumerism ★,) but about finding ways to give to others.  Day 5 of the of 121 Advent Bible Plan said,

“The beauty of the hope ushered in through Christ and made alive in us through His Spirit, is that it gives us the ability to have abiding hope, that transcends earthly circumstances and uncertainty.”

One of the reasons that Christmas is so wonderful is because it’s the one time of year when people start to think of others less fortunate than themselves…whether it is buying presents to give to “Toys for Tots,” or serving in a soup kitchen for the homeless or some other form of community service.  Calvin Coolidge once said,

“To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” 

That is the Spirit of Christmas to be the hands and feet of Jesus, spreading God’s love to those around you.

Last week while I was on a business trip to Indiana, I saw the Polar Express movie (from 2004) again. Every time I hear Josh Groban’s song “Believe,” it warms my heart because of the message it conveys. As I watched the climactic scene of Santa giving out the first gift of Christmas, he said something that just resonated with me…

10 - Daily Dependnece - Polar Express - The True Spirit of Christmas lies in your heart
“The true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.”

And that is so true!!  Titus 3:4-0 (NIV1984) says,

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

10 - Daily Dependence - Charles Dickens - Honor ChirstmasAs a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, when we accept Him as our savior we receive also the Holy Spirit which is the greatest gift ever!  I will close with this last thought…As we have been ruminating over these past 10 days, let’s do what Charles Dickens said in his classic novel, “A Christmas Carol”…

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.”

Let’s live with the Christmas Spirit in our hearts, not just on December 25 but for the other 364 days!

If you would like to see the next installment of our “25 Days of Thankfulness” series go here…★ Day 11 – Reason for the Season – Following Jesus Will Cost You ★

Or you can start from the beginning by ★ Clicking Here ★

#Daily Dependence - Reason for the Season - 25 Days of Thankfulness

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★ Thought for the Day – got fear? ★

After a long day at work handling the pressures and demands of the job, then coming home and juggling the kid’s schedules, then dinner…then the bedtime ritual with them (whatever that looks like in your house)….you collapse into bed without a single ounce of energy left.  But instead of drifting off to a much-needed 8 hours of sleep, you lay awake thinking about the mistakes of the day, things that have to be done tomorrow, and every other possible problem that exists or could possibly happen.  Why does this happen?  I think that it is from fear!

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Linda Godsey put it this way

“Did you know that behind every fear there is a lie?  I once heard someone say that the letters of the word fear stand for…In other words, fear comes from believing lies.”

I love acrostics and I love the advice here…when we are not grounded in the truth of God’s Word, the Bible, then we are open to attack from the Devil who will scream lies to cloud your mind which leads to fear.
23 - Daily Dependence - Fear is a Liar

Here are some truths for your stand on:

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”  Psalms 56:3-4 (NLT)

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”  Isaiah 43:1b-3a (NLT)  

The truth in both of these powerful scriptures is that:

  • WE WILL have fear.
  • WE WILL go through difficult situations.
  • WE WILL face heat in our lives
But the answer to all of these realities is to TRUST GOD and KNOW THAT WE ARE HIS and that no mater what the oppression, God will be there with us.
“Fear can keep you up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow.”
“Fear can keep you up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow.”

And I will close with Psalms 4:8 (NLT) that puts this “Thought for the Day” to bed…pun intended.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” 

Tonight if you can’t sleep, start to pray and ask God for His peace to come over you and quiet your anxious thoughts.

If you would like to read more on the subject, check out:


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★ Thought for the Day – Extra Grace Required ★

Have you ever heard of the abbreviation “EGR “?  I just recently was introduced to the term, which is short for “Extra Grace Required.”

34 - Daily Dependence - Extra Grace Required

I did some research and found this definition…

EGR n. Abbreviation for Extra Grace Required. 

“A person in church whose ongoing spiritual and emotional needs frustrate the efforts of others to interact with that person or minister to that person.” (Source: http://www. dictionaryofchristianese.com/)

We have all met someone like this…A person who requires a lot of effort on our part to help. Sometimes, if we are being honest, it is a challenge just listening to what they are going through, but as I read the definition, I felt the Lord convict me and say to me that: “You require EGR too!”

We all do.  We are all sinners.  We all have fallen way short of the mark and we are all in need of God’s grace!  I love how Max Lucado put it about the grace that God offers us…

“He gave us grace. Not just mercy, mind you, but grace.  Grace goes beyond mercy.  Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a party.  Mercy prompted the Samaritan to bandage the wounds of the victim.  Grace prompted him to leave his credit card as payment for the victim’s care.  Mercy forgave the thief on the cross. Grace escorted him into paradise.  Mercy pardons us.  Grace woos and weds us.  Grace does this!  Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in his eye and an offer that’s hard to resist.”

It is all about Grace!  So before we say, “Extra Grace Required” for someone else, remember we all require extra grace!

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★ Thought for the Day – The Benefit of Discipline ★   

When you hear the word discipline, what comes to mind?


All of those are probably true but what I try to look at is the benefits that will come from the adversity or exhaustion or pain that will result from being disciplined whether it be in my work ethic, my finances in what I buy or don’t by or in my time at the gym (…which honestly needs to be improved….hahaha!) I like what Jim Rohn once said:

08 - Daily Dependence - Jim Rohn - Discipline
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

There is a clear result of how you get from goals to success! In the book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 11, I really like how it is stated:

“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

16 - Daily Dependence - Hebrews 12-11- Discipline

The question is will you accept the discipline and reap its benefits or fight against it?

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