Sunday, December 17, 2006

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

Periodically, I take time out to share with you some wonderful things that cross my path (that have nothing to do with education). I'd like to introduce you to Colleen Marquez - a talented woman who knows how to turn words into gifts. What follows is our gift to you this season. If you have a significant other, read on. This could help you make this the best Christmas ever as a couple. May you be blessed during this holy season.

Does it sometimes feel like the Advent candles are burning at both ends? Is it hard to nurture your marriage in the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations? If so, here’s an Advent activity based on 1Corinthians 13, to do together to help you stay connected and refreshed as husband and wife. As you daily gift each other with intentional love, you will prepare your hearts and be ready to celebrate the greatest gift of love on Christmas Day… Christ Jesus, himself!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas are 12 promise cards. You can place each card in a Christmas stocking or a special box, and keep in a prominent place – on the mantle or under the Christmas tree. Each morning, beginning December 13th, set aside several minutes alone as a couple. Read the card for the day and speak aloud the gift of love. For twelve days before Christmas, take turns giving and receiving these gifts of sacrificial love. Keeping Christ’s love as your model for giving will transform your marriage, and will help you stay calm and connected in this busiest of seasons. Be transformed, by the renewing of your love!

1. Love is patient. Today I will wait for you without rushing or resenting. If my pace is normally slower than yours, I will try to step up to yours. I will be patient by considering your timing needs before mine. Today I will practice patience by not complaining anywhere - even if shopping lines are long or someone cuts me off on the road!

2. Love is kind. Today I’ll love you in the language your heart knows best. If you feel most loved with acts of service, what errand or chore may I do for you today? If you feel most loved by tender words, I’ll write you a love letter and I’ll read it to you. If physical touch makes your heart sing, would you enjoy a massage tonight? If spending quality time as a couple is how you feel loved, let’s set aside time this evening to relax together. If your heart smiles brightest when you receive wrapped packages, then open your hands, and close your eyes; and I’ll show you my love with an early Christmas surprise! Tell me how I can speak my love so your heart understands? *

3. Love envies no one. Today I will want just what we have. I will make a list of all the things I am grateful for, and I will read it to you so you will know. I won’t talk about what other people have that we don’t have. I will throw away any mail order catalogs I’ve been saving. Today I will practice contentment and gratitude for the blessings already in my life.

4. Love is never boastful. Today I will admit out loud I don’t know everything. If I have hurt you, I will humbly admit it, and ask your forgiveness. As a sign of humility, I promise to ask for directions next time. As a sign of my love, I will praise you in front of others at our next holiday gathering.

5. Love is not conceited. Today I will ask you about your day before I tell you about mine. I will listen to you without thinking about what I want to say to you when you stop talking. I will quiet my thoughts while I listen to you. I will practice thinking about your needs today, before my own.

6. Love is not rude. Today I will wait for you to finish talking before I begin talking. I will be careful with my words. I will consider how my actions affect you and others. I will speak well of you whether we are together or apart. Today I will show you greater honor and respect by my words and by my actions.

7. Love is never selfish. Today I will offer you “first choice”, “the best piece”, and even control of the remote! I will lavish on you the best of whatever comes our way today. I will think of you before myself. How can I best love you today? I want to know.

8. Love is not quick to take offense. Today I choose to forgive you for “that thing” you did or said that annoyed me. I will practice loving you today by choosing not to complain about “you know what”. Instead, I will consider today how I may have offended or hurt you, and I will ask for your forgiveness.

9. There is nothing love cannot face. Today I renew my commitment to you even when we face big challenges. With God’s help, I’ll do all I can to work toward a healthy marriage. If we need outside help, I will seek it with you. Is there something we need to face that I’ve been avoiding? Please tell me because I choose to love you even when it doesn’t feel comfortable.

10. There is no limit to love’s faith. How can I pray for you today? I will light a candle as a reminder to keep you in my prayers. I will pray for health and safety. I will pray for wisdom and discernment. I will pray you feel God’s love. And tonight before we go to bed, let’s pray together for God’s blessing on our marriage.

11. There is no limit to love’s hope. Let’s talk about our hopes and dreams. What are your hopes for this Christmas? What are your goals for next year? What are your dreams for our future? What is your greatest wish? What do you hope to accomplish in your life? Today, let’s write down our hopes and dreams, and share them with each other!

12. There is no limit to love’s endurance. Today I’ll give you encouragement wherever you need it. I want to be your greatest fan. Are there areas in our life where you feel fatigued or worn down? Let’s talk about how we can work together to lighten the load. How can I help? Together we can to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

“In a word, there are three thingsthat last forever: faith, hope, and love;but the greatest of these is love.”~ 1 Corinthians 13 ~

For more information on obtaining your own box of the 12 Gifts of Christmas, you can contact Colleen Marquez directly.

Copyright 2000-2007 Colleen Marquez. All Rights Reserved.