Elf on the Shelf

It’s that time of year again….social media is blowing up with Elf on the Shelf posts! Most people by now know the story behind these vintage elf dolls… they are the eyes and ears for Santa Clause. Each night as the house quiets down and everyone sleeps, the elf flies to the North Pole and reports all the events of the day! This is how Santa creates his naughty or nice lists! What a magical thought!

As a counselor I was thinking about this idea and it occurred to me, while the elf is fictional, there really are eyes watching us day and night and a list is kept separating the “naughty and nice.” Christ never slumbers nor sleeps and keeps constant watch over us. What if we had a 7/365 doll that reminded us of Christ’s eyes watching over us? What would we be ashamed of? What would we be proud of? Would the tally marks at the end of our life be more on the nice list or the naughty list? We are all flawed, being human implies an inevitable imperfection due to the fall of man (sin), but are there naughty-list thoughts or behaviors we could work to eliminate? I don’t know about you, but for me I want those eternal eyes knowing without a doubt that the nice list has more tallies than the naughty list. I don’t want a close call, but I want to excel at life striving to be more Christ-like than world-like.

I find this time of year is difficult for most people for various reasons. For some this time of the year is a financial struggle. For others being alone is magnified during the holidays. Families that may have dysfunctional aspects can also be magnified. The anticipation of the holidays and the stress we experience during the anticipation and experience of our less-than-ideal situations can create a dark place in our hearts and lives. I am not here to tell you, “Everything will get better” because sometimes life has dealt a very solid deck that we cannot change. The hope is not in change, but the hope is in perspective and our ability to choose gratitude over negativity. What does this have to do with the Elf on a Shelf or Holy Eyes watching over us? Negativity, stress, mounting anticipation often results in naughty list behaviors, words, thoughts, and emotions. For many the negative headspace results in their name missing the nice list. What if we reminded ourselves that eternal eyes are watching and each time we saw the “elf on the shelf” we made a statement of gratitude? What if we proclaimed our thankfulness rather than allowing the Grinch to steal our joy?

Research supports a headspace that is filled with gratitude and thankfulness. Scripture also supports gratitude and thankfulness. A simple, free, practice can give you back joy and land you on the nice list! What more could anyone ask for in life?!

All one has to do is Google “research on thankfulness” to find a plethora of benefits. Some of the highlights are:

  • Immune System Booster

  • Decrease Blood Pressure

  • Mental Health Improvement through Chemical Balance

  • Increase in Optimism

  • Increase in Giving and Generosity

  • Decrease in Isolation and Loneliness

  • Anger Reduction

  • Self-Esteem Booster

  • Increase Peace

Ways to Practice Thankfulness:

  • Write a Thank You letter

  • Look in the mirror and compliment yourself out loud in these areas of your life (Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Social)

  • Journal 3 Blessings every single day

  • Pray

  • Personally thank someone

  • Daily thank your spouse and children

Thankfulness in the Scriptures:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

  • Psalms 107:1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

  • Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

  • Colossians 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

  • Psalm 95:2, “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”

  • Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

  • Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”

  • Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Let’s Make This Season One Of Gratitude As We Practice Thankfulness Together!


www.StewartsGiftCounseling.com

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