Tip: Go home on Thanksgiving instead of Christmas..
I can laugh about this now… But I’ll be lying if I said there was no truth to this picture. In my defense, I decided to go home for Thanksgiving (instead of Christmas) this year before God revealed my purpose. Plus, I got two trips for the price of one by spending four days in Ohio reconnecting with friends I met while attending The University of Akron.
All jokes aside, when you don’t have money to keep up with the typical flow of gift giving, the holidays are rough. Despite being broke this year, here are..
5 things that remind me I’m blessed this holiday season:
1. This is nothing new
This is what I woke up to Christmas morning 2015.. Netflix and 3 hungry cats waiting to be fed. I spent 10 days during Christmas last year pet sitting them in North Hollywood, CA. I was broke and decided to try TrustedHouseSitters.com for free housing in exchange for pet/house sitting. We had a ball. A hairball that is..
For Christmas a couple of years ago, I baked two lemon cakes. Sliced, wrapped and put Merry Christmas stickers on each piece. I gave them to my family, friends, church members, old co-workers, everyone. I felt like Oprah..
2. I remember what Christmas is REALLY about
I’m a giver at heart and Christmas is a typical reason to give. However, I must remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!3 So I try not to feel obligated to buy things for people just because it’s Christmas. I actually encourage people NOT to buy me things. My family, friends and I always have everything we need (food, water, clothes, and much more). Also, I don’t give out IOUs. If I don’t have it, I can’t give it. While in school, I didn’t constantly remind people that I’m earning a civil engineering degree, which will land me a high paying job and result in better gifts once I graduated. Now I don’t feel unnecessary pressure to fulfill a Christmas promise. On the other hand.. If I have it, I’ll give it.
3. I’m a minimalist
How do I tell my family and friends that I don’t want stuff I don’t need? I suppose through this blog. I’ve become a full out minimalist this past year and everything I own can fit in the trunk of my car. That’s how I like it. I can pack up and move anywhere within hours. Which I’ve done multiple times while in LA. One of my goals is to build and live in a tiny house on wheels. Which you may think is odd since I’ve gotten a taste of luxury living while living in Los Angeles. Nonetheless, I still prefer to live life with only necessary and multi-purpose items. If I acquire a new item, I find something old to get rid of. This plays into how I give sometimes too. I would rather give someone something they can experience rather than a material item (i.e. gift card to a restaurant or tickets to a show) because those are the types of gifts I would want. Are you wondering what this minimalist wants for Christmas?? Click here for the answer
4. I’m broke in the flesh but rich in Spirit
I may have made a third of the amount of money I could’ve made this year if I accepted an engineering offer post graduation. I may be moving from warm Los Angeles to cold Colorado Springs in a couple of weeks. However, I’m only 25 years old and I know what my purpose in life is! Not only do I know it, but I’m living it! I’m working for God while practicing the skill I went to school for. Oh and I’m going to Zambia, Africa in a couple months!! Bottomline: I could have zero dollars in the bank and zero presents under my nonexistent tree, but I can NEVER DOUBT THAT GOD IS GOOD! Que Ugly Cry
5. Ugly Cries give me strength
My mental health got worst each year I was in college. I consistently struggled to keep my GPA up, to manage my time efficiently, to lead my student organizations, and to excel at my internships. The constant stress and anxiety began to feel normal. It’s a feeling that was almost impossible to turn off during the holidays. In addition, during this time of the year, I would typically feel the shame of not doing well in a class or the guilt of showing up to Christmas empty handed. The pressure was suffocating and often left me paralyzed in fear. Jonothan Mcreynolds has a song called Pressure and it reminds me of the feeling I’ve had for the past few years. I listen to it every day because It reminds me that God relieved all my pressure! This holiday season my Ugly Cry reminds me to rejoice because with God I am more than a conqueror!1
My Prayer (Join me if you’ll like!):
“Father, thank you for loving the world so much that you sent your only son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.2 I’m grateful for this holiday because it gives me the opportunity to share the Gospel. No matter how little or much I have, please help remind me who I’m celebrating. Not myself or others, but Jesus.3 Thank you Jesus! Amen.”
Thanks for reading my blog!! I’ll be starting a series on Life-Work Balance (not to be confused with Work-Life Balance) this Thursday (12/22)! Wishing you an early Merry Christmas and I hope you remember that God loves you!!
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With God’s Love,
Jamara Beard ❤
The Birth of Jesus Christ
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.