5 Ways to Love Others this Holiday Season without breaking your budget

It was a total surprise. I stooped down to check my mailbox cubby at work a few days ago and there was a little card and a Christmas decoration. Immediately I smiled and ripped open the envelope. “Thanks for all your instruction.” No name. Just a sweet little card and a hand made decoration to brighten my holiday season. And my heart was full.

Two aspects about this gesture stood out.

1. It was so simple and inexpensive, yet had the same effect on my spirit that a big gift would.

2. The person stayed anonymous and therefore cared more about the giving than the credit, which made me feel extremely special.

We’re entering the most generous time of the year. We want to serve and give because our hearts are reflecting the love we feel from the season that celebrates Christ’s gift of His presence in the world. Christmas season makes me feel more alive and joyful, so I want to give that feeling away, but so often feel I don’t have the money or ideas of how to do so. But my student’s little gift got me thinking outside the box. (pun intended ha!)

So here’s a few ways we can bring others joy this season without spending a lot.

1.Buy a box of candy canes ($1 at Walmart right ow!) and decorate them like Rudolf or tie a hand written message/Bible verse and give them to your cashier, waitress, anyone who serves you this season. OR be anonymous and put them on co-workers desks.

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2.Don’t you love getting mail that’s not a bill?! So do your neighbors:) Get Christmas stationary (mine was $10 for a hundred sheets at Hobby Lobby) and stickers or a stamp. Make homemade Christmas notes with a personalized message for each of your neighbors. You could write 3 reasons you appreciate about your neighbor and choose if you want to sign your name or make it a mystery note.

3. This season is about inviting people in to the best gift of all. God’s love. Be bold and invite someone who may be lonely this season to church, dinner at your house, or a coffee date. You get to be love to others with your invitations. Even if they decline, they know you care.

 

4. Ding Dong Ditch. If you’re a baker, whip up some of your favorite cookies,(if not, just christmas-cookies-2975570_1920buy some cheap ones at the store) wrap them up on paper plates and drop them off on random porches.  Knock on the door and move to the next house. OR if you’re bold, stay and hand the cookies face to face, and get to know your neighbors better. People are made for community and so many of us are living in isolation. Cookies and a smile go a long way.

5. Connect, Reconnect, and Converse. Make a list of 10 people you love and don’t talk to often. Call, text, Face-time, or get together with one each week for the rest of the year! This costs ZERO dollars and means SO much. It ends your year with people you love, and begins the new year helping you and your people feel connected.

I could go on, but you get the gist. Be creative, be connected, be bold, and be love to those around you in silly and serious ways this season. Have fun being a bearer of joy and care!

 

**Here’s how to GET MORE free truth bombs right to your inbox and join the Glory Be movement. You matter to me! Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Holiday Devo Cover Front

IT’S HERE! Intentional Holidays is the perfect devotional to keep you focused on Jesus this holiday season. It was so fun to write for this devo with such a talented and grace-filled group of women. We hope this brings you rest and rejoicing through the often chaotic seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Order yours on Amazon asap!

 

 

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We made this for YOU! Grab your copy of our newly released 90-day devotional HERE. It’s full of life changing truth that points to the One who sees you, knows you, and loves you.

 

 

Loving my Actual Christmas

I’m in HOLIDAY mode! But let’s face it, our actual holidays don’t always mimic Hallmark movies. Expectations, finances, hope, joy, sorrow, and where Jesus meets us in it all. Alexandra Kuykendall shared some practical and soulful insights during a video interview last season centered on her book, “Loving my Actual Christmas”. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s full of grace and wisdom to help you navigate the holidays.

I hope this Christmas interview blesses you as it did me as we prepare our hearts for the season…knowing that no matter our circumstances, Jesus is with us and is our source of all we need at Christmas and all year long.

 

*Visit Alex online for more Christmas insights

**Here’s how to GET MORE free truth bombs right to your inbox and join the Glory Be movement. You matter to me! Find your voice in the conversation on Facebook. P.S. Jesus is so incredible! I’m so excited for you as you get to know the One who wants to be your EVERYTHING!

cropped-andreaweb24

 

Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.

Find Andrea also at WhollyLoved Ministries and her devotionals with WL on YouVersion Bible App and Crosswalk

 

Devo promo D

We made this for YOU! Grab your copy of our newly released 90-day devotional HERE. It’s full of life changing truth that points to the One who sees you, knows you, and loves you.

Treasuring up Christmas

I love Christmastime so much I don’t want to let it go. So many things about this season make life a little sweeter and love a little louder. I want to take it with me into the snows of January and the rains of April and the sunburns of July. Mary did too.

In Luke chapter two Mary has completed the journey to Bethlehem riding nine months pregnant on a donkey. I could just stop there. Sh has given birth in a barn, wrapped her homeless baby and son of God in cloths, and laid him in a food trough for the animals.

And yet….

A star shone bright in the sky. Shepherds came running to see the new king, validating all that she had been through. Saying yes, an angel told us, “…Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has ben born to you; he is Christ the Lord…” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV).

What do we do with that great news? We have two options. We can stand amazed and a little bewildered at such a truth for our lives, or we can ponder our God and the goodness he’s given us all the days of our life.

“and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:18-19 NIV).

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:18-19 NIV).

I mean after all the sweet girl had been through, Mary sat there and reflected not wanting to miss a moment– taking a mental snapshot of the ridiculous grace of God that she got to be part of the story.

Now it’s our turn.

The angels said that night was for all people. It was for you and me as much as it was for Mary. It’s our turn to sit silent with the Lord Jesus who has come into our lives. It is our time to turn all our sorrows and struggles into divine goodness with Jesus.

We get to treasure Jesus up and ponder all His goodness all year round. Praise the Lord!

It’s our moment to chose to live in thankfulness for our undeserved redemption and love from God. We get to live praising him for coming to bring us back to life and for the people he has given us to be a light of love til we can see him face to face.

I pray that every day of the year is like Christmas in our hearts. I hope we treasure up the sweet faces sitting at our tables today. Storing up all the joy of these special Christmas moments and thanking God for his amazing mercy and friendship. Joy to the world!

Merry Christmas sweet friends!

Advent: Open Your Gift

For decades of Christmases I had an unopened gift under the tree. Santa didn’t put it there. It was placed there for me by the greatest gift giver of all. But I was scared of it, didn’t understand the packaging, and thought I needed to be in my Christmas best instead of my bedhead to open it. I couldn’t shake that it was really for someone else. So there it sat…

My Salvation.

Turns out, that was all untrue. My Father was waiting patiently for me to open it. Wondering what my face would look like when I believed it really was for me and what I would do when I found priceless freedom inside. Watching to see, would I leave it in the box? Or take it out for a ride?

But I lacked faith.

I wasn’t sure if I needed or wanted the gift God was offering. Or if there was anything in the box at all outside of Sunday mornings. So I let it sit there. I ignored it and pretended it wasn’t calling out to me. I made excuses and thought I could make my own gift with my own hands. But the glue wasn’t holding.

He let me bend just enough so I would see the gift under the tree once again and would run to it and open it because there was nothing else that would do.

I tried and tried til God let weights of this life bring my heart’s eyes down. He let me bend just enough so I would see the gift under the tree once again and would run to it and open it because there was nothing else that would do. There was nothing else that I wanted or needed.

So by prayer, reading my bible, and asking God for His Holy Spirit and His help, I had enough faith to take the gift of my Salvation– and open it.

Inside the box was a new set of heavenly clothes purchased at a high price but worth every bit in God’s eyes. I put on my new self found in Christ and looked in the mirror and I saw something unexpected — it was the me that I was supposed to be from the start. It was me plus the love and forgiveness of my God.

I learned that God is a generous and patient gift giver and His grace is truly what extends the freedom of our Salvation in Christ. No effort of prying or pulling can open God’s free gift– only faith can do that. Not just faith that Jesus conquered death on the cross for the sin of those who believe, but faith that He did it for ME (for YOU!). Faith that He came so I wouldn’t roam this earth wondering if God loved me but walk it boldly proclaiming and living out His love.

I have Faith that He came so I wouldn’t roam this earth wondering if God loved me but walk it boldly proclaiming and living out His love.

When I started running with the gift of forgiveness and mercy and love from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my feet wanted to fly. And I have faith with Jesus they will have enough strength and endurance to run my best race.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV).