Make sure you prioritize those who love you and need you the most. Jesus said the second greatest commandment was to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). The ones you live with, eat meals with and sleep next to are your "neighbors" more than anyone else. You can prioritize them -- while still reaching out to others at this time of year -- by making sure their needs are met first and then inviting them along with you to help meet the needs of others. That will keep you balanced, but not at risk of neglecting those closest to you. 

3.      Pursue Moments that Lead to Memories

There's nothing worse than a Christmas that is self-absorbed. If it's all about what we want -- or what our children want -- or what someone else wants, we can lose focus of what it truly means to give as God gave of His Son, and Christ gave of Himself.

As you look around you, it's not difficult to notice so many in need -- physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. What are the moments that lead to stories you will tell at the dinner table at night? Stopping to talk to a homeless person and handing them a bag of groceries? Taking your children -- or your girlfriends -- to a convalescent home and singing carols, or just going door to door to visit the elderly and handing them a candy cane? Taking a meal to a family at church? Going caroling and wishing well those that open the door and smile at you?

The holidays that have meant the most to me and my family are the ones in which we got outside of ourselves and touched another life … not necessarily because it made us feel good, but because it touched someone else's life and showed our God that we understood a glimpse of what He sacrificed when He sent His Son to earth -- and then to a cross -- for us.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books, including Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, When You're Running on Empty and Women on the Edge. For more on her books, ministry and free resources, see

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