12 Stays of Christmas

This week, we’re thrilled to feature “The Twelve STAYS of Christmas” rather than the “The Twelve DAYS of Christmas.” Our very own LauraLee Shaw has written this little guide, inspired by the popular Christmas carol, to guide YOU through this harried holiday season. Today we’re featuring an excerpt from the book and if you comment on ANY COUNTER ARTICLE or on THIS DEVOTIONAL, you’ll have a chance to receive one of FOUR copies that Laura Lee is offering. Leave us a comment here letting us know  how you hope to “change” this Christmas season, or comment on a Ministry, Family or Marriage Counter article and you’ll be entered automatically!

On the 3rd STAY of Christmas, the Proverbs guided me…

to deal with others patiently…

“Better a patient man than a warrior,

a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”

Proverbs 16:32


In the spirit of staying cheerful and friendly, occasionally situations will arise that offend us to the core of our being. It is at these times we will need to call upon the Lord for patience.  If we ask Him, He will help us to be slow to anger when we are insulted. Proverbs puts it this way:

12:16—“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

20:3—“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”

29:11—“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

Can you see me squirming? These verses prod at my heart, because the contents expose some of my weaknesses. A good majority of us can get offended quite easily (crooked finger pointed directly at me).

The uncomfortable part is that change always starts with us seeing ourselves from the Lord’s perspective. If we could zoom in and take a look at our own hearts, we could see that patience starts with the Lord changing us. We must take the first step and ask Him to help us do so.

Staying patient and cheerful in a crowd is one thing, but enduring those close to us is a whole other matter indeed. In this situation, one of the keys to patience is being quick to forgive. Isn’t it true that often times we “lose it” because we’ve built up past wrongs without forgiving? I’m truly thankful that the Lord doesn’t treat us in the same manner. His heart is for us to forgive as He has forgiven us, and the Proverbs back up the wisdom behind it:

19:11—“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

20:22—“Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.”

Christmas is all about how Jesus came into this world as a living human to save us from our sins. Without forgiveness for others, we’ve totally missed the message, and therefore we miss the opportunity to be Jesus to others. Being quick to forgive is a major way that we can minister to a lost, unhappy world at a time that is meant to be full of hope and joy.

Can we take the challenge to STAY patient this year? Let’s give the Lord our expectations, as well as our pride, and let Him work in us His spirit of forgiveness.

“Father, we thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve–for being patient and forgiving of us.  Help us to be like You in our dealings with others–slow to anger and quick to forgive those that hurt us.  You are the only One who can bring this about in us, so we beg You to do so…and once again, may You receive the glory.  Amen.”

Lori MacMath

Lori's daily mantra includes praying, "I will take it Lord, ALL you have to give," and a commitment to live out Colossians 3:17 daily. It's her prayer that the energy that fills her spirit be with her till her dying breath! Nearly two years ago, Lori traded the sauna of the Deep South, for the snow of Chicago. After 19 years in Atlanta, Lori has bought herself a coat and some winter boots and is ready for the NEXT adventure at Harvest Bible Chapel / Chicago West. She navigates this road with her husband of 26 years and they have 3 children, ranging in age from 17 - 22. She seeks daily to be creative and use the gifts the Lord has given her. With the heart of an artist and a spirit to live intentionally missional, Lori strives daily to see Him in all that surrounds her. Encouraging women on their daily walk with the Lord is her passion! She has recently stepped out into NEW territory with her husband in the inner city of Chicago. She is on staff at Harvest Chicago West, in the Austin neighborhood, where the Lord is opening her eyes to Urban Ministry and Discipleship. Lori and her husband also have a Business as Missions endeavor that helps empower women and missionaries around the world. She would be HONORED if you'd visit Hope Products International where providing HOPE to the world through fair trade and sustainable products. Lori has served in a number of roles over the years, ranging from Camp/Leadership Adventure Coordinator, a mid week Bible club for elementary and upper elementary students in a local public elementary school as well as being on staff at her church. She is excited in this season to watch the Lord unfold HIS plans for the next step on the journey. Helping others, loving others where they are and seeing the transforming power of Jesus is at the heart of all she does. Her heart for children, women and all those on the broken road is at the core of everything she does. She LOVES playing graphically and encouraging others through visual arts, and her passion for Discipleship is at the heart of all she does. It truly inspires her and fills her spirit.

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  1. I have been searching for a on-line study that i can do along with my best friend Kim. We live 2 hours away from one another and needed somthing that we could do together on line. This is perfect for us.
    Thank you.

  2. WOW!! This sounds really interesting, I can’t wait to read more!!

  3. I was searching for an Advent study to do at my church when I felt God nudging me to write one myself using the passage from Luke 2:10,11. The title of the study is, “Sharing the Good News of Christmas”. Each week we focus on one of the Four Spiritual Law’s Bill Bright created for Campus Crusade for Christ Ministry and link it to Scripture that we in turn memorize. At the end of our 4 week study, we will have memorized key passages that outline God’s plan of salvation. I pray that God uses each person in this study to expand His Kingdom! After all, the Good News of Christmas is too good to keep to ourselves. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

  4. This is an AWESOME study. Don’t enter me, cuz I’m already getting a copy. Amazing advice.

  5. An hour into the school day when all the stresses come pouring back in, this was a gentle, poignant reminder. Stay patient. Thanks.

  6. What a refreshing little book for the season! I am so glad to learn about it! I plan to order several to give as gifts to friends and family!

  7. I’m hoping to constantly be a light out in the Christmas crowd even when it’s hard. Actions speaks more than words, I pray my actions this whole season will be pleasing to my Father.

  8. I have been praying about just this for several days now. I realize that my weaknesses are many, and my strengths are few. With patience, I am asking for wisdom and grace to stop trying to control everything in my life, to let go of the little things (by being very slow to anger) and to turn all things that I worry about over to God. I find that if I stop myself, pray and even write out my worry, anger and control issue…it really is powerful to see it on paper, then I have to prayerfully let it go. This has been a Thanksgiving full of blessings after many months of stress. Nothing has changed on the outside, but I am woring to make changes inside me and have much more peace. I am so grateful for God’s love and forgiveness. Thank you for this post, such a wonderful reminder during this Holiday season!

  9. I am really being blessed by these “12 Stays of Christmas”!! One thing I’ve struggled with is being patient during the holiday season. So many of us fill our calendar so full we feel pulled in every direction. This year we are focused ONLY on Christ. We will go to our Church’s Christmas things but that is it!

  10. my husband and I recently moved from Fl to Tx. For the 1st time, we won’t be with any of our kids for Christmas. I can easily find myself moaning about how lonely it will be, but I believe if I put the focus on Christ, He will comfort me and bring me joy this season!

  11. I had the opportunity to meet Laura Lee this summer and she is the sweetest thing ever! The real deal! What a wonderful book to use as a devotional during the Christmas season which can be hectic at times. I can’t wait to read more!

  12. Blessings and thanks so much for sharing Laura Lee’s great twist on the 12 days of Christmas…to 12 Stays!!! How creative is she! And what a great gift to give for Christmas! You would choose the one that I need the most or at least I use to need the most at home… PATIENCE!!! But even now I find myself struggling with just my dogs or other people’s kids on the street or in public. Seems like they just do stuff to urk my dogs and I have to bring them all in… poor babies! So God’s still working on me and my patience. I think I’m getting worse in my old-er age than better, not as able to overlook or tolerate kid’s idiosyncrasies (perhaps it’s mine). Of course, in public, I can bite my tongue and walk away. Asking Our Lord to keep changing me, who wants to remain a fool. A whole year of challenge…whoa…how ’bout a lifetime? At least it has been for me…

    Great writing!!! Great book…wishing that Santa would put that in my Christmas stocking and others too! Thanks for the motivation!

    So, how do I hope to change this Christmas season? Honestly, from where I am any change would be a welcome one. (Not snow though, God, the Mexicans have enough to deal with and it’s already too cold for many who don’t have adequate living basics). I hope that I can rise above the difficult year I’ve had with a new HOPE and PRAISE for this Christmas season… I know the truth and now I’d like to really LIVE it in front of others!

    Peace, JOY and grace,

  13. You know, I cannot comment from Chrome or my phone lately. I have to open another browser. Guess the enemy doesn’t want me to comment… ha!

    This is such a great idea. On patience. Uhhh. I so need to exercise that as He does with me. It’s an ongoing process. I hope to change by showing more love to my family this year by seeing their need above my own.

  14. Thanks for sharing LauraLee’s refreshing wisdom. I love the way she draws principles from Scripture and offers practical every-day applications to help us “stay” Christ-centered during this holiday season!

  15. These comments are so perfect for sons whose hormones just want to be irritated by their little brothers. My change for the season? To quiet my heart, opt for joy, smile more:)

  16. Oh! I would love a chance to recieve one of these devotionals. :)T

  17. Thank you – a very good reminder. I especially liked the part about being glad God wasn’t impatient with us. Good Check up post.

  18. LauraLee,

    You are such a sweet treasure, I’m a little late to the party but I am SO very excited about this and love the creativity He has given to you!

    Thank you!!!!

    Melissa 🙂

  19. I need to remember this year round. I grow impatient so quickly. Lord, forgive me. He has been so patient with me! How dare I be impatient with others.


  20. Oh my, how much this is needed! The crooked finger is pointed at me, too. I need more patience always, but especially this time of year. This looks like an awesome guide. As far as how I hope to change this Christmas . . . more patience is definitely in order, and focusing more on Jesus’ story rather than the holiday rush. Thank you!

  21. Thanks so much! I am so excited to be a winner. What a wonderful reason to smile!

  22. I really needed to see these verses. We have alot things happen this year that have required patience : husband in/out of the VA, put on disability no longer able to work, I went to work then lost my job, son and dil had my 1st grandchild and my DIL has become unbareable….. God is definitely trying to tell me something


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