Three Gifts Guaranteed to Give You Christmas Cheer!!! A Repost for 2017…

Editor’s Note: I’ve posted this before, but the Christmas message is renewed every year! Merry Christmas!

Hello World,

I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year!” So if your eyes aren’t twinkling like they are Christmas lights, if jingle bells aren’t attached to your ankles or if you are not burping up eggnog, you obviously don’t possess that sometimes elusive Christmas cheer…

I know that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but can I be honest? Sometimes even knowing that isn’t enough to dredge up that Christmas cheer that everyone is supposed to be cloaked in like an expensive heavy coat that you only wear on special occasions….

Still despite the manufactured Christmas cheer that retailers will lead you to believe can only be bought, I have discovered there are three gifts, not 12, not enough for your whole family or all your network, simply three that will stoke the furnace of genuine Christmas cheer within you…

I don’t know if it is the example of the three Wise Men or because God is the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit or at the suggestion of my favorite author Catherine Marshall, but in my 20s, I decided that in addition to the gifts I would give to my friends and family, I would also give three gifts to Jesus…

Now, how does one go about giving gifts to Jesus? Although I feel His presence with me, I have never seen nor touched Him physically…So how was I supposed to do that? I was led to these three verses below as I came up with a way to give three gifts to Jesus…

 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:30

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4

So what do these three verses mean?

1. I was give without expectation of receiving anything back.

2. I was to give to people and or organizations that served “the least of these.”

3. I was to give in secret and not tell a soul.

I have never revealed what I have done before, but since I am writing a post about this, let me share some of the gifts I have given over the years as a testimony to how God has blessed me with authentic Christmas cheer as a result….

There was once a homeless man that I saw every day as I walked from one location to another in downtown Atlanta…All of the store owners on the street were kind to him, and I could see why…He was kind and mannerly and even funny sometimes…I don’t don’t why he was homeless, but he seemed content to live on the street…I thought that since he seemed like he wanted to be on the street, I could at least help keep him warm…I tried to figure out what what size pants the man wore and bought him a pair of jeans (he always had on jeans) and a blanket…When I handed him the wrapped up gift, he seemed not to know what I was handing to him until I explained it was a Christmas gift…Then he smiled…That simple smile made me glow on the inside…

Another year, I decided to volunteer one Saturday at My Sister’s House at the Atlanta Mission…I helped hand out supplies to the women and children that were staying at the shelter…At that particular time in my life, I pretty much hated my job and the fact that I was too poor to move out of my parents’ house…But spending just one Saturday at the shelter showed how much I had to be grateful for…My mom has always told me if you want to feel better, forget about yourself…

And finally another one of my secret three gifts was the doll I gave to a Christmas toy drive one year…although I am not a girly girl, I have always LOVED dolls…I wanted a new doll every  Christmas for years and years…in fact, I used to worry that as a fifth grader, someone at school would find out I still played with dolls and I would be teased…So one year I decided to give the prettiest, most girly, luxurious hair-having doll I could find and afford to a toy drive…I don’t know what girl was the recipient of that doll, but if I have learned anything about God, I know that “every good and perfect gift” comes from Him…I’m sure that the girl who received that doll was the very girl that wished for and deserved that gift…

Although the Christmas countdown has begun,  there is more than enough time to give (and get) Christmas cheer…

Any thoughts?

Three Gifts Guaranteed to Give You Christmas Cheer!!!

Hello World, christmas-cheer-grinch

I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year!” So if your eyes aren’t twinkling like they are Christmas lights, if jingle bells aren’t attached to your ankles or if you are not burping up eggnog, you obviously don’t possess that sometimes elusive Christmas cheer…

I know that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but can I be honest? Sometimes even knowing that isn’t enough to dredge up that Christmas cheer that everyone is supposed to be cloaked in like an expensive heavy coat that you only wear on special occasions….

Still despite the manufactured Christmas cheer that retailers will lead you to believe can only be bought, I have discovered there are three gifts, not 12, not enough for your whole family or all your network, simply three that will stoke the furnace of genuine Christmas cheer within you…

wise menI don’t know if it is the example of the three Wise Men or because God is the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit or at the suggestion of my favorite author Catherine Marshall, but in my 20s, I decided that in addition to the gifts I would give to my friends and family, I would also give three gifts to Jesus…

Now, how does one go about giving gifts to Jesus? Although I feel His presence with me, I have never seen nor touched Him physically…So how was I supposed to do that? I was led to these three verses below as I came up with a way to give three gifts to Jesus…

 

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:30

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4

 So what do these three verses mean?

1. I was give without expectation of receiving anything back.

2. I was to give to people and or organizations that served “the least of these.”

3. I was to give in secret and not tell a soul.

I have never revealed what I have done before, but since I am writing a post about this, let me share some of the gifts I have given over the years as a testimony to how God has blessed me with authentic Christmas cheer as a result….

There was once a homeless man that I saw every day as I walked from one location to another in downtown Atlanta…All of the store owners on the street were kind to him, and I could see why…He was kind and mannerly and even funny sometimes…I don’t don’t why he was homeless, but he seemed content to live on the street…I thought that since he seemed like he wanted to be on the street, I could at least help keep him warm…I tried to figure out what what size pants the man wore and bought him a pair of jeans (he always had on jeans) and a blanket…When I handed him the wrapped up gift, he seemed not to know what I was handing to him until I explained it was a Christmas gift…Then he smiled…That simple smile made me glow on the inside…

Another year, I decided to volunteer one Saturday at My Sister’s House at the Atlanta Mission…I helped hand out supplies to the women and children that were staying at the shelter…At that particular time in my life, I pretty much hated my job and the fact that I was too poor to move out of my parents’ house…But spending just one Saturday at the shelter showed how much I had to be grateful for…My mom has always told me if you want to feel better, forget about yourself…

black dollAnd finally another one of my secret three gifts was the doll I gave to a Christmas toy drive one year…although I am not a girly girl, I have always LOVED dolls…I wanted a new doll every Christmas for years and years…in fact, I used to worry that as a fifth grader, someone at school would find out I still played with dolls and I would be teased…So one year I decided to give the prettiest, most girly, luxurious hair-having doll I could find and afford to a toy drive…I don’t know what girl was the recipient of that doll, but if I have learned anything about God, I know that “every good and perfect gift” comes from Him…I’m sure that the girl who received that doll was the very girl that wished for and deserved that gift…

Although Christmas is less than a week away, there is still time to give (and get) Christmas cheer…

Any thoughts?

Why I Have A Dead Spiritual Mentor Like Mo’Nique Does In Hattie McDaniel…

Hello World, moniquehattie

Tonight is the most exciting night in Hollywood! It’s the night that a new class of movie industry professionals will be bestowed with that unmistakeable gold statuette for reaching the zenith of their careers. Yes, you guessed it! It’s Oscar Sunday, and the awards ceremony will be telecast tonight at 7 p.m. EST! 

The Hollywood Reporter, as a part of its Oscar coverage, recently featured an article “Oscar’s First Black Winner Accepted Her Honor in a Segregated ‘No Blacks’ Hotel in L.A” about Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Academy Award 75 years ago.  McDaniel won the Best Supporting Actress Award for portraying Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.” In addition, the magazine also interviewed actress and comedian Mo’Nique as she paid homage to McDaniel by wearing gardenias in her hair as McDaniel did on her Oscar night when she won the Best Supporting Actress Award for the role of Mary in “Precious” in 2010. Unfortunately, Mo’Nique had negative things to say in the article “Mo’Nique: I Was “Blackballed” After Winning My Oscar.” I don’t know all of the politics of Hollywood which was discussed in the piece so I have no opinion about that. But what did capture my attention was Mo’Nique’s mystical relationship with her chosen mentor Hattie McDaniel who died several years before Mo’Nique was even born…Below are just a few snippets from the article in which she describes this relationship…

Do you know I keep a picture of Hattie McDaniel in my closet in an 8-by-10 frame? As I’m looking at her right now, it looks like her smile is shifting. Yes, I’m talking about you, Miss Hattie McDaniel! (Laughs.) What that woman had to endure was criticism from the white community and the black community. She didn’t have options to say, “No, I’m not going to accept that,” because she was an actress. I’m just grateful. I’m appreciative that she endured all of that so that this little girl named Mo’Nique wouldn’t have to.

Spiritually, I’ve gotten an opportunity to meet and talk with her. And I read her life story, which is absolutely amazing — just to see how amazingly talented this woman was, and the mistreatment she received all the way up to her death. This woman gave everything to the business. It help me to put my priorities in order and realize that my family comes first. Because when all of this is over and they say the last “action” and the last “cut,” I want to have my family. When Hattie died, she died alone with a nurse by her side, and no money.

In having my conversations with Hattie McDaniel, you know what she said? “Mo’Nique, my story’s already been told. There needs to be a new story told.” So all I’ll do right now is wink my eye to you over the phone when I say that. (Laughs.)

catherineSo I’m sure that some people think it’s weird that Mo’Nique feels like she has met, connected to and is mentored by a dead woman….I’m not one of them because I too have a dead spiritual mentor that I feel like I’ve met, am connected to and am mentored by…My dead spiritual mentor is Catherine Marshall…I believe I first discovered her in 2002 through her book “Something More” Below are 10 Reasons Why I Chose Catherine Marshall as My Spiritual Mentor.

  1. Her personal relationship with God was the foundation of her creativity, and she wrote books that sold at least 18 million copies…I have wanted to be a writer since I was six years old, but it wasn’t until I developed a personal relationship with God that I had something to write about…
  2. She was spiritually adventurous…She was never satisfied with what she knew about God. Every book she wrote demonstrated that she aspired to know something more…I aspire to be that way…
  3. She wrote fiction and non-fiction books…I, too, don’t want to be confined to one genre…
  4. She was a pastor’s daughter…I am a pastor’s daughter, a pastor’s granddaughter and a pastor’s niece…
  5. She attended Atlanta’s Agnes Scott College where her papers are actually housed…I grew up in Atlanta…And a few years ago as a birthday gift to myself, I spent the day at Agnes Scott reading through her papers…
  6. She was a big dreamer…I am big dreamer….
  7. She believed in miracles….I believe in miracles…
  8. She really wanted to be married…After her first husband died and she lived as a single woman for several years, she wrote her desire to get remarried which she ultimately did…Her testimony inspired me during my single years…
  9. She was devoted to her marriage and family life although she was passionate about her writing career…Although I LOVE words, you can’t cuddle up to them at night or laugh with them at the movies, etc…Well, I guess you could, but it’s not the same…you know what I mean….
  10. She can’t reject me…Since she died when I was 10 years old, I didn’t have the chance to meet her as an adult…But honestly, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to approach her about mentoring me had she lived long enough to meet me…Thankfully, she wrote so much about her life in her books, I feel like she is personally advising me all of the time through her words…

One last thing: I hesitate to share this but here it goes…I feel like I’ve met her too…I had a dream about her shortly after I started reading her books…I won’t share all of the specifics, but I will say that she told me to look up Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.” So as much as I look up to her, she advised that my ultimate guide is God…

So do you think I’m weird? My husband does 🙂 LOL…

Any thoughts?