The Christmas season is upon us, and with it comes non-stop shopping, gift-giving, and entertaining. Not to mention baking, bow-making, and balancing the checkbook. No wonder it’s hard to find peace in the hustle and bustle of what should be one of our happiest times of the year.

Often, in the midst of our hurry, we forget to count our blessings. One of the best ways to do that is to look around us and find someone with a greater need. Most likely we won’t have to look too far. It’s not just the poor, but the poor in spirit, who need a reason to celebrate life. Or, at least, life in the moment. We can help give them that reason with the gift of our time.

Angel trees, red kettles, and food kitchens are great places to lend a hand. But we should also minister to the widower in the back pew, the single mom who lives around the corner, and the frazzled caregiver whose elderly parent is lost in dementia.

The holidays are particularly difficult for someone who is already lonely or grieving. A smile, a hug, or a plateful of homemade cookies can go a long way toward making their day. An offer to clean their windows, or an invitation to dinner—even if it’s just to the fast-food restaurant down the street—can go even further.

Take a look around you this Christmas and count those to whom you can be a blessing. It will help you count your own.

 

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville music business, where she has worked for thirty years as a marketing director. Her latest novel, Deadly Commitment, released on October 14. Read Kathy’s blog or follow her on Facebook,  Twitter, and/or Instagram.

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Commitment can be a good thing…when we’re committed to the right thing. But how often do we make a decision without fully weighing the cost? How often do we say “yes,” when we want to say “no”?

I’ve been guilty of it myself.

When I sat down to write my latest novel, Deadly Commitment, I wanted to write about how we sometimes make decisions without thinking them through. Maybe it’s a monetary commitment. Or a spur-of-the-moment decision to leave our job or drop out of school. It could even be the decision to marry the wrong person. We may think, “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll get a divorce…” “Or, sell the house…” “Or, go back to school.”

Sometimes, a hastily made decision works out. But many times, it leads to regret. And there are even times it can be deadly. I wanted to explore that idea, taken to the extreme, in my book. And, when I did, a suspense plot was born.

Fortunately for most of us, one bad decision—or several in a row—doesn’t mean we can’t start over. Jesus tells us that we should forgive each other seventy times seven, just as our Heavenly Father forgives us.

Thank God for second chances. That theme has played an important role in my life, and in my writing. No matter what mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to change courses. Our past doesn’t have to hold us captive. We are given daily, moment-by-moment opportunities to turn around, turn in a new direction, and recommit—to the right thing.

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business where she works as a marketing director. For several years, she freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote, as well as ghost-wrote, news stories and columns for various music publications. She sold her first Christian nonfiction story in 2007. Her debut novel released in 2012. And her new novel, Deadly Commitment, releases today.

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