Guest Author - A. Maria Hester, M.D.
Pledge 1 - Call everyone who is important to you. The holiday season is traditionally hectic with people shopping, planning and attending parties, and cooking, so start your calls early this year. Let them know how much they mean to you and tell them you will say a special prayer for them that this Christmas season will be full of the love and happiness that was meant for all.
Pledge 2 - Go to a fast food restaurant or a grocery store and buy several gift certificates to keep in your car or in your wallet. Then, when you come across someone who seems down on her luck, offer her a free certificate. It may be the only meal she gets that day.
Pledge 3 - Make something. Use whatever talent or skills you may have to create something. Sew an apron. Crochet a set of coasters. Paint a pretty picture. Wrap up your creation and give it away. It may be to your next door neighbor, the man down the street, or even to your local Goodwill. Throughout the day, remind yourself how blessed you are to be able to use your mind and your hands, for many people have lost even the most basic skills we so often take for granted.
Pledge 4 - Set aside 20 minutes each day to meditate on the mercies of God. Christmas has become extremely commercial, and the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of the baby Jesus and His humble transition from Heaven into this world, has taken a back seat to great deals at the department store. Do not allow the new culture to deter you from that soft still voice in your heart reminding you that God loves you. You may not have all that you want to have and, chances are, you may have had to say good-bye to at least one precious loved one in your life, but remember, your Heavenly Father is looking down on you right now and He loves you.
Pledge 5 - Do not focus on the negative things in your life. Make a commitment to focus on the positive ones. If you are wealthy enough, and educated enough to own a computer to read this article, you are doing better than billions of people in the world who live in poverty. Thousands of people will not wake up tomorrow, for they will have starved to death during the night. Millions of people will sleep outside tonight because they have no home. Now, I am not trying to rain on your Christmas cheer, I just want you to remember how tremendously blessed you are, and the next time someone asks you how are you doing, tell them the truth. Tell them you are too blessed to complain.