All posts by J. Emm

Christmas Season Self-Care

This is our second year of Christmas under pandemic restrictions. There has been much news and talk about how to prevent catching the big “C”, but not as much has been said about remembering to take care of your overall body-mind-spirit.

Pandemic life is extra draining. There are concerns about following or not following any mandates that are inplace; figuring out how to turn down holiday invites; and trying to gently let loved ones know you won’t be joining them in person for the holidays out of concerns about public health.
Self-care during the holiday season is important, these are some ways to tend to your body-mind-spirit this holiday season.

Turn Off the News
It’ll be alright if you don’t watch, read, or listen to the news for a few days. What is the worst that will happen if you turned of the news for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (in Canada)? If you need to know road and weather conditions for safety reasons, there is always the weather network and Google.

Limit Social Media
The holidays is a great time to limit or take a complete breaks from social media. Again, what are you missing out on if you are not on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for two days?
This is a great time to watch or catch up on television series, going to a movie, maybe go for walks, go ice skating, read a good book or magazine, or play board games; engage in anything that your interested in that doesn’t involve social media.
You can always wish people online a Happy Christmas on the 24th and sign off until Christmas day is over.

Take A Nap
The holidays can be a great time to sleep in even if your internal alarm wakes you up at 6:30am thinking it’s a work day. Or reverse it; stay up later than you normally would and use that time to engage in meaningful activities, hanging out with friends and family, or anything that you normally wouldn’t be able to do when you have to get up early for work.

Paying Attention to the Foods and Drinks You Consume
I’m not advocating that anyone diet during Christmas; that’s an instant killer of holiday joy. But I will say that it’s important to be aware of how much alcohol you consume if you can’t hold your liquor. No one likes to be stuck with an annoying drunk, even if it’s family. Be mindful of any health issues you have. If you’re diabetic, remember to stick to your routines. Your body doesn’t give you an exception for get togethers.

Get Outdoors, Get Moving
It’s easy to spend all day in doors eating, talking, and sitting around, but it’s a good idea to get some fresh air. It’s easier to get up and get going if you have an activity planned: going for a walk, snowshoeing, ice skating, or attending outdoor events.

Know When to Say Goodbye
Constantly being around people can be draining and sometimes frustrating. Know your limits. If you know a head of time that you’ll be around people who drain your energy, establish a time limit before hand. Let them know you’re only visiting for 3 or 4 hours. Decide how many days you can realistically handle spending at your families home.
Christmas is not meant to make you miserable and unhappy. That is not how Jesus wants you to spend the day that is meant to honour his birth and arrival here on earth.

Prayer
The irony of Christmas is that it evolved into a commercial holiday rather than a religious holiday. Make time for Jesus. This goes beyond going to Church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Take time to personally reflect on the year.
How have you seen God’s presence in your life?
Beside material gifts, what are you most thankful for this Christmas? Make room for one-on-one time between you and God.

Thanksgiving and Advent: Our Double Blessing

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

Back-to-back holidays (in America, Thanksgiving and Christmas) doesn’t leave much time for people to rest and take a break. It can be a mad rush to get ready for Thanksgiving with travel, shopping, seasonal events, and get togethers; and things don’t stop until the new year when everyone returns to their regular daily grind. But if we as Christians slow down we can use the Thanksgiving weekend as a time to begin the Advent season with a spirit of gratitude.

Consider using the Thanksgiving long weekend as a time to prepare for the upcoming weeks of Advent. Beyond giving thanks for your family, friends, and the material goods that you have; how have you seen God at work in the very troubled world that we live in? Give thanks.

If you haven’t already, consider making intentional time to be engaged in Advent reflections this season.

Advent has 3 components: past, present, and future. We can give thanks for all three stages.

Thank you, Lord, for your first arrival and being the much needed and anticipated light and hope in the midst of darkness.

Thank you, Jesus, for your spirit being with us in the present.

Thank you, Jesus, for your promise to return. We live and wait with prayerful anticipation as we live in your kingdom come.

Take Care in Giving Advice

Making the Most of Conflicting Advice From Mentors

This morning I was reading Mark 5: 21-43. It’s the story about Jesus tending to the deceased daughter of a synagogue leader named Jairus and another story about a woman who is healed by touching the the garment of Jesus.

These are stories of Jesus’ miracles that I have read many times, but after this most recent reading I realized how much bad advice and instructions the disciples and others gave Jesus. Thank goodness Jesus knew what his purpose was and was fully aware of the power of God.

When Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house some people informed him that the daughter had died and not to bother the father. Jesus didn’t listen, instead he knew that they were upset and experiencing grief, anger, and disappointment. Instead of accepting defeat and going away, he continued on and entered Jarius’ home to find everyone crying and distraught.
When it came time to heal the daughter Jesus kicked those who were laughing at him out of the home. With only his selected disciples and the parents of the young girl in the room Jesus healed her.

When Jesus had been on the way to Jairus’ house he was interrupted by a woman’s actions. We find the disciples giving Jesus bad advice when he asks in a crowded space, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples give the side eye and remind him he’s asking a ridiculous question considering all the people pressed up upon him.

The woman, realizing she had been healed by her faith after touching the hem of Jesus’ garment speaks up and he tells her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go and be in peace from your suffering.”

Had Jesus listened to those around him, neither of the miracles would have taken place. Those whose faith turned to doubt weren’t trying to hurt anyone with their words, they were being somewhat realistic. But what I think we can learn from these two incidents is that giving advice that seems realistic, but is rooted in a lack of faith is not good for others.

Before giving advice to others ask yourself:

Is what I’m going to say rooted in my own personal insecurity, doubts, and fears?
If so, remember: spread faith not fear.

Were you asked for advice?
Sometimes it’s alright to give unsolicited advice, but before doing so ask yourself if it’s the right time and the right situation for doing so. Also avoid giving advice about something you are not knowledgeable about.

Did you pray about it?
If the situation is quite serious and could have grave effects on a person’s life bring it before God in prayer. Ask God what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Giving advice is not something we do in our own strength.

Be open to the other person’s response.
Not everyone accepts advice even when they’ve asked for it. Be prepared for what you have to say being rejected or ignored. You’ve done your part and leave it at that. You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, no matter how much you care.

Acknowledge when you are wrong.
There are times when we have given bad advice. This is why we need to be careful with advice giving. If you have done so acknowledge that you were wrong, and when necessary apologize. You can’t take back what you have said and done, but you can always make amends.

Let’s not be like the disciples and the doubters who almost blocked the miracles and blessings from God with our unnecessary and unasked for advice.


One Day at a Time: Pandemic Version 2021

Being a Person of Peace - Experiencing God | First15 Daily Devotional

It’s been almost a year since I last posted. When our city first went into lockdown in March 2020 I thought that we would be houled up in our homes and backyards for several months and when it was all over we would go back to life as normal, except with really dry skin from all of the hand sanitizer.
Boy was I wrong!

We are now 19 months into this pandemic and my city has some of the highest COVID19 numbers in the country. We even made international news for our government’s incompetence in handling this ongoing crisis.

At the time of writing this we are still under provincial mandates aimed at slowing the spread of the delta variant.

I know I’m not the only one who wishes this would all end. No more over run ICU’s, no more people fighting about vaccinations, conspiracy theories, masks, and passports that don’t involve traveling outside of the country.
I was ready for a first-world problems meltdown when I couldn’t order a bed from IKEA due to their inventory shortage related to COVID19 procedures and process, and whatever other excuses they wrote about.
I had to stop and remember to give thanks that I wasn’t one of the thousands of people who have succumbed to this virus.

I reminded myself that I have been employed throughout the lockdowns and mandatory work from home orders. I haven’t had any material needs since this virus took over our country.

I was also reminded of a record my mother used to play frequently. It was by an artist named Cristy Lane. She had a song on the album called One Day at a Time. I’m posting some of the lyrics here with the hope that it will be more than lyrics to an old song, but rather our prayer as Christians while we continue to hopefully, move closer to witnessing and experiencing the end of this viral pandemic.

One Day at a Time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.

Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Do you remember, when you walked among men?
Well Jesus you know if you’re looking below
It’s worse now, than then.
Cheating and stealing, violence and crime
So for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time.

Whatever your situation is in the midst of all these pandemic disruptions, may you take it one day at a time in trusting that God is still with us. Call on the Holy Spirit to guide you as you made daily decisions for safety, community, and well-being.