Reconnecting Christ with Christmas

Christmas is a time for many things, like family, good food and presents. It’s also a time to reflect on the ending year, which is even more important with changes this year has brought to our lives. In this podcast episode, Jon, Jeff and Don discuss what it means to connect Christ with Christmas, and they remind us of our responsibility to care for others.


Don: I suggest that we reconnect and renew our minds of work Christmas originated from, and what took place on Monday, giving to people that have needs that are normally not met, I think would be one big thing that people could, three ignite would be the word. That we’ve kind of missed third love to see people just giving to people

Jon:  Hello, and welcome to this edition of journey coaching podcast. I’m your host today? John Y and I have with me, our guests for this podcast, Jeff Carlson, our businessman or local resident, businessman. Love to have you here, and it’s good to see you again. And, uh, one of the founders of a journey coaching and a resident, regular guy, as I like to call him Don Evans, Don, it’s always good to see you.

Don: It’s great having you back, John. We really enjoy you being on our podcast and co-hosting for us, sir. 

Jon: Thank you brother. It’s always good to see you both as well. And so it’s, uh, um, getting to be a, that time of the year, uh, where we are, uh, sneaking ever so close to the holiday seasons. We’ve only had one past us here and Thanksgiving, and now we’re heading into, uh, another couple of holidays.

Uh, specifically Christmas is, uh, what we’re, uh, looking at, uh, on the calendar is coming up next year. And you know, that time of year when we celebrate, uh, a couple of things, one, the spending of money on gifts, of course, sending out cards to people we haven’t talked to through the whole year, or make connections with a wheat, lots of sugar.

Which is always my favorite part and a little bit of traveling, uh, even in a COVID world. Uh, so, uh, Oh, that’s right. And we celebrate the birth of, uh, someone to, uh, that special person that we all know and love. And so, um, but you know what, I put that last on my list for a reason, because, uh, at times it seems to me, uh, that.

Uh, we think about everything else at this time of the year, except for the reason for the holiday that we’re talking about. And, um, you know, I’m here tonight with you to kind of talk about that. You know, I think there’s much more, uh, that we should be considering, uh, as far as who we are as humans, uh, than just all of the material, things that seem to go along, uh, with the Christmas season.

And so, um, I think we’ve lost sight of that. And, uh, and, and hopefully tonight, maybe, uh, why we’re doing through this, uh, this podcast, this recording, um, we’ll have a few answers as to maybe how you might be able to look forward to this time of the year as well, and not be so disconnected in a way that doesn’t connect you with, uh, Christ.

And so, you know, here we are, uh, Just a bunch of men standing around a table here and talking for a little bit, but, uh, there’s a lot of stuff this time of the year. And, and I say that because it’s all wrapped into one big thing. Uh, we seem to be a little bit tense. Um, we were talking about this before we started recording tonight.

We’re a little worn out, we’re tired and we’re not alone. In that regard. There are a lot of people that we talked to this time of year that seemed to feel the same way. And yet this should be a celebration. Time of year. Uh, and we don’t feel that way Dewey. Um, so Donna, we’ll start with you tonight. I’ll just, uh, I’ll toss it right out to you.

Um, so you know, the ball-peen hammer is already in his hand ready just to pop right there and you know, but, uh, you know, what, what are we missing? What, what is it that, uh, you know, we’ve seen to have lost over time here. 

Don: Family connections. We just don’t do it anymore. We talked about Jeff, some podcasts, uh, six months ago where the kids were all home and what we do.

And I said, we have to adapt. Uh, I us three, no, that I’m not a good adapter. I don’t adapt well to things, but you just see and hear people talk about the fact that they can’t go to their families because their relatives are sick. Uh, Island. You know, I’m 62 years old. I remember when families got together every Christmas and Thanksgiving and we did, I didn’t even follow.

I wasn’t a Jesus follower of, but my grandma let me know every year at Christmas why we were having Christmas dinner because they were good Christian folks. So, you know, you look back as a little kid that seems like a century ago, but it’s not, I’ll sum it up with just good old fashioned family connections, you know, 30 people at the table for dinner.

Jon: I would imagine that Christmas was a little bit different for each one of us. I came from a large family. Ours was a lot like that as well. We look forward to the time of year, uh, we’ve reformed family. We were outside a lot, still working, doing a lot of the things that had to be done just to, to live. But, uh, the house was warm, the hearts were warm and, uh, and, and I have a lot of great memories of, of those holidays and a lot of it was family and that was the best part of all of it.

Um, Jeff, uh, you know, you’re are. You’re a resident historian here. I mean, let’s, let’s look back a little bit, you know, Don has kind of talked about the, uh, the Christmas, uh, maybe past a little bit in the, in, in a little bit of the Christmas present, but let’s go past a little further than that, you know, white, what is it about.

Christmas that you know, is important. What should we be looking maybe toward a little bit more than, uh, than we do well, right. And 

Jeff: that’s a, that’s a great question. Cause they’re right. John’s, there’s so much going on. Right. And Don, you talked about family and uh, there’s some good family stuff, right? But then also families get together and there’s some not so good family stuff was stress on.

It’s all the gift of buying, you know, what am I going to get? You know, all the commercials that come on, I love the mute button on the TV or, or the, uh, where are you gonna record and fast forward through the commercials. Cause it’s like, it gets to be about this time of the year. And I’m just like, I don’t want to hear the words, finding the perfect gift thing.

Where’s the perfect 

Jon: gift. I have a quick stat for you. If you’d like me to throw it in there. And since you’re talking about gifts, the average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies, uh, this year, uh, individually. Yeah. And think about how many people are in a household. Um, that’s $465 billion, uh, according to the national retail Federation.

And then they return a good portion of those right after Christmas 

Jeff: is over. So, 

Jon: so there you go. I mean, right. We’re all focused on the perfect gift. 

Jeff: Yeah. I would encourage anyone listening to this. So, so let’s say you are a believer or you’re not a believer what’s what’s important is to think about about 2000 years ago and keep in mind that we are now in 2020.

So like 2000 years ago, I mean, our calendar was reset by this event, uh, which is the birth of Christ. And there may be some people that say, well, I don’t know about that. That’s not really true, but you look at how much the world has adjusted. To that event, how different would things be? How, uh, maybe better for us and the people around us.

If we could just dial down that sugar energy that present energy, that ringing hands about, Oh, who’s who in the family’s coming over, you know, this year and just go. Okay. 

Jon: Might 

Jeff: there be something in the Christ part of Christmas where we could slow down and, uh, just recalibrate and, and focus on, on what all that means 

Jon: at our church last week?

Um, yeah. Uh, someone in the church had made for families, a little manger set that you could, uh, and they cut all the wood and everything. You can put it together. And, uh, I had a model, I was working our information desk. I’m sitting out there and, and, uh, in, in it, instead of straw, they had put Pampas grass.

And I don’t know if you’ve ever been around Pampas grass, but it’s really itchy, uh, grows very well, but it’s very itchy and I’m thinking I’m going. Yeah, well, nobody would ever put a baby in Pampas, grass like that. And then I started thinking about it and I’m like, You know, nobody would think about putting a baby in a manger that the hogs or the animals a worry in 

Jeff: your farm.

Boy, I’m a farmer. 

Jon: I know what it’s like. I know what it smells like. I know what it looks like. And so you think of that. And if we talk about that, but it’s like, I don’t know that we ever really dive into what that actually looked like. We we’ve sanitized. So many things in television shows or cartoons or whatever, it might be about the birth of Christ that, um, it looks fairly sanitary to me.

Jeff: Well, there’s a lot of hallmark movies, 

Jon: hallmark movies. Yeah. But it’s not, you know, that’s not reality, right? If you, if you think about it, it was a baby born to a woman in a. In a, you know, basically a barn yeah. Uh, with animals presence. 

Don: Um, when you and I V and farm boys are convinced, probably meant the shadow without he was born there, they put some fresh straw for bedding.

Like they bedded the animals. That would be how you feral hogs and cattle that’s unfresh straw. Yeah. That was Jesus in bedding. 

Jon: You know, there’s nothing glamorous about, uh, the birth of Christ. Uh, other than, you know, it was a Virgin birth and, uh, uh, Christ came into this world and he was honored by everything that was around him that night, including nature and, uh, God or God orchestrated that.

And, and then he came. And so, you know, if you’ve read the stories in the Bible, you, you look at the birth of Christ and you look at the life of Christ and you, you realize what the purpose was. But yet, I think we lose sight of that. I mean, it’s so easy to watch all of that, you know, the hallmark movies and think that’s Christmas, right?

It’s about, it’s about who I fall in love with. It’s about some great story and hopefully they all lead back to that, but I don’t know that we make those connections. And I think what’s important about that is there’s a lot of joy in this story and that joy is, uh, our redemption. Right. And that the joy is also our relational factor to our, uh, our Lord.

Right. And so we now have a way to have that relationship that we did not before. Um, but that relationship also means with each other. And, and I think we’re missing some of those things in that component of Christmas today because we focus on so many different things. And I think there’s a lot of joy in that.

Uh, and we say the word joy a lot this time of year, that we don’t usually every other time of the year. Um, but Jeff, I think there’s a, there’s a connection to that in the history of that, that we, that we may miss today. 

Jeff: Well, it’s the simplicity, right? Because it is just such a simple. Calm message. Here’s this baby born humbly in humble roundings and, uh, it, it, it’s just easy to miss and unless we’re intentional and open our hearts and minds to it.

And, uh, it’s and it’s a game changer and it’s a game changer again, because it changed history. It changed, uh, how we, uh, You know how we measure time in a way, even the whole, you know, it is again 2020, this happened 2000 years ago. So it’s just, it’s cool. Kind of to think about that, but again, it’s just something that’s so easily lost on.

Uh, uh, what did you say? $700. 

Jon: 700 a person. Yes. 

Jeff: I mean, you know, when you’re out, you know, stacking up that $700 a person, you know, a gift basket, it’s, it’s sometimes, you know, some of the simple things and the important things can kinda get lost. 

Don: Well, getting back to Christ and I mean, if we’re going to feel, spend $700 on each individual, uh, to bring it back to Christ, to get back to your original question about how we’ve kind of lost track on what we should do, why would it be so difficult to maybe, I don’t know, spend a couple of minutes praying before we spend the $700 and recognize, as you said, Jeff, where Christmas came from.

We’ve lost. Totally all of that. And we just think about our needs. 

Jeff: Yeah. And it is, it is the giving, right. It is looking outside ourselves and, uh, really following God’s example, Christ example to serve and give to others. And, uh, right before we sat down here, My daughter had, uh, shot me a little note, um, for our business where we’re giving some donations away at the end of the year.

And she wrote me a little sticky note. Cause we had, you know, we’ve been brainstormed with the people at the, uh, uh, the office, where are we going to give this? And she just kind of summarized. And so, uh, I said, yeah, that looks good. And that’s really cool when I, you know, wrote back to her. Yeah. Okay. Let’s do this.

That’s really cool. So, I mean, uh, and, and if I get a blender at Christmas or something, I’m sure that’s nice, but it’s not like saying, Hey, this is okay. Let’s, let’s release these dollars to serve others in our community. I mean, that’s, that’s better than yeah. Two blenders. 

Jon: Well, and I think that, you know, the whole gift giving.

Um, that is, that is part of the Christmas story because that the gift that was given to us was the birth of Christ. And so it’s the representation of the gift. Um, and why we give the gift. I just think we’ve strayed so far away. 

Jeff: Right. And so balance that right. Balance. 

Jon: Yeah. There’s, there’s a loss of balance in those things.

And I said, so I think. My question to both of you and I’ll go back to Don, what, what can we do? Uh, is there something we can do, uh, now that helps us to maybe reframe and refocus and, and re-look at this, I mean, it’s been, Hey, let’s, let’s be honest. 2020 has been a year of reframing and refocusing. And re-looking at things personally.

I can’t wait for 2021, but who knows if it’s going to be any better. Right. So you, you live with where you’re at right now, but, um, How, how much you reframe some things. If I could ask you to, um, to say, okay, if I could pick one or two things that I would reframe, uh, to help me focus on what the importance of this holiday is, what would it be 

Don: for me?

It’s probably John going to be a little different than the average person, because, uh, other podcasts I’ve done with some of my background, uh, Soberness. Isn’t very important for me to have Christ that’s Christ centered and I follow Jesus. So I think if we could just all again, I was repeating myself, recognized him more, him being Jesus and Christ.

I’m sure there wasn’t a baby shower for Christ. I’m sure there wasn’t a lot of presence in the barn, you know, but. I suggest that we reconnect and renew our minds of work Christmas originated from, and what took place on that day instead of just in Jeff hit on a key point. I really like of just giving, you know, like, The be rich program at North point church down in Atlanta, you know, they raise a lot of money and that goes to so many organizations that need the help, but they’re not buying them new blenders, as you said, or, you know, new sleeping bags and things like giving to people that have needs that are normally not met, I think would be one big thing that people could.

Re-ignite would be the word that we’ve kind of missed in the last as just a 2000 years. I think

pull instead of spending $700 mine, your son or daughter, this and $700 for Jeff for something, add some running boards to his pickup or this whole thing. I’ve said it before. I’m a Jesus follower. And I have people in my own church that aren’t connected. I just I’d like to see that change. 

Jon: I would too. And I think, uh, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re probably people listening tonight that would say, you know, I, I have the resources spend $700 a person, you know, I would love to be able to bless my family or do something nice for my family.

I can’t, I don’t have the money. I lost my job because of COVID. Um, the show took my house out and now I, you know, we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to put it back together. I mean, we’ve had so many things, especially in the area we’re here in Eastern Iowa that, uh, have affected us, uh, this year that there are a lot of people.

Um, I think Christmas will maybe. Refocus something different this year because they cannot do what they’ve done in the past. And so, 

Jeff: and that’s not a bad 

Jon: thing. It’s not a bad, it’s not 

Jeff: a bad thing. And I think sometimes it’s, again, it’s perspective. So, so if, uh, if a family can’t go out and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on gifts, you know, please, please don’t.

Feel bad about that, you know, uh, look at just those simple things you can do for each other. And, uh, those things that you can do to focus your family. I mean, it’s as simple as reading the Christmas story out of the Bible. Right. You know? 

Jon: Yeah. We used to, uh, we used to make a birthday cake, uh, and we’d sing happy birthday to Jesus, my kids and I, and my wife.

And we would do that. And it’s still a tradition. We, we do that and we’re together on Christmas Eve and we just, um, we like to do that because it helps us focus. And read the Christmas story and talk about that out loud. Um, I think there are things people can do. I wrote a few things down. Uh, you could do some chores for someone else.

You know, there are still people that are picking up and help somebody, um, donate time. Uh, donate some resources, something worthy, um, in your eyes. Maybe that’s not monetary that you could do to help and bless somebody else. Uh, make a meal for someone maybe you’re gifted in baking and cooking, and you could, um, uh, help someone less fortunate.

Uh, in that regard, I put down making a memory. Um, you know, one of the things, uh, you know, as my parents got older, uh, and they’re both gone now, but, uh, you know, mom never knew what to get us anymore. As you got older, because you’re married, you had to have things of your own. And so my mom would give us a little bit of money.

Uh, and we’d take that money every year instead of buying something and we would go make a memory with it. We might go to a park. We may go, um, on a, on a short trip or do something that, you know, we always took pictures or send a postcard back and say, Hey, Merry Christmas, mom. I know it’s July. Um, but this is what we’re doing with the $200 you gave us.

And the kids and I are, and Sherry are having a blast. And so, you know, those are the, those are the things that I think are important. Uh, but Jeff, I think, you know, I’ve got a, I got a gift kind of the gift that keeps on giving. Um, and this isn’t the Christmas vacation movie. It’s not where I make that reference, although I’m very, very tempted at this point.

Um, Uh, it’s just the way I’m wired. Uh, but, uh, you know, we’ve got something special. I think that is starting here, uh, with, with helping other people, uh, in some regard. And I think this would be a perfect opportunity for somebody to give themselves and to go to the journey website and, uh, ended. To sign up to maybe get some coaching.

Yeah. Talk about that gift a little bit. I know that’s a, you know, it’s just, maybe self-serving on our podcast tonight, but, uh, yeah, but I think that is a gift. 

Jeff: Wow. And it would only be self-serving if we were getting from it. You know, I think that the seven session outlines, I think we charge only, but why don’t we charged down $15 a piece or something as a kid kind of pays for printing, you know, the, uh, uh, we were just talking about this earlier, John, you had someone come up to you and ask about it and they said, well, you know, Uh, does insurance cover that or whatever?

Well, not really because it’s, there’s no cost. I mean, this is a gift to people we want to serve others or quite frankly, the other thing we’re looking at is. Uh, grab a couple of these little seven session outline workbooks, which are basically just a pathway to sit down to someone and build an intentional friendship.

Just grab a couple of those and go coach each other. In fact, you did that with another gentleman. Uh, you didn’t, we’re not here. Here’s the thing. We’re not professional accredited coaches or anything like that. We don’t do that. That’s if you lean for that, that’s not what we are. It is just based about.

People coming alongside people, uh, people that have already been through the coaching or in your case, John, where you and Daryl just sat down together and sort of stumbled through. 

Jon: Right? W we did, uh, both of us, uh, have been professionals for a long time. We’ve had, you know, coaches and we’ve been coached and have coached others in our own personal lives.

Uh, Darrell’s retired now. I’m still employed, but. Uh, you know, uh, it was fairly easy. I found it very straightforward. I found it very helpful. I’ve in my case, I’ve been through some of those things before, and it’s always good to refresh and to renew, but in a lot of cases out there, I think there are people probably listening night.

I’ve never, uh, been through a strength finder. They’ve never looked at what their emotional intelligence looks like. They’ve they’ve not considered, uh, what a goal, uh, in life. Looks like, or even how to set one. Yeah. And so, you know, um, I feel blessed. I’ve had those things in my workplace, uh, and through other things in my life.

But, um, I think there are, uh, many, many people and hopefully you’re listening tonight. Take, you could simply go to the website, uh, Sign up and we can help you with that. Right? You can go through that process and not have to have that cost you, um, you know, thousands of dollars to get that kind of personal coaching.

Now, you know, again, we’re not, we’re not professionally trained coaches or Don Evans, regular guys and gals just like everybody else. And so our mission is to really. You know, help you, um, make some decisions in your life, help you to maybe find that pathway, that journey in your life. Maybe you’re stuck right now.

Maybe, you know, you’ve, you’ve tried a lot of things and you just need somebody to say. Hey, have you considered this? Have you looked at this about yourself? 

Jeff: Our sort of call to action is if you want to grow and that’s important, you know, if you really want to grow and how important is that, but if you really want to grow, we want to help.

Right. And so it really is a matter of just going, you know, what. This sounds a little different. Haven’t given this gift before to anybody, 

Jon: but, 

Jeff: uh, yeah. Jump in, take the step. Like you say, Johnny used to go to the website and a lot of information. Is there some more podcasts and you can hear it. Listen to some more podcasts beyond listening, actual doing is so important and you can go on and download the PDFs, or we can send you a couple of, uh, the coaching booklets.

Again, it’s seven sessions. It’s, it’s straightforward. About nine revisions over five years to put this little seven session, it’s about a 60, 70 page little thing together. So there’s been a lot of thought going into it. We’ve coached lots of people. And I would just ask you, John, you have been through a lot of stuff over the years.

Just same old, same old, or was this different when you. Went through it with Darryl 

Jon: some the same, some different, um, and, and probably the difference for me was not necessarily that, um, you know, I hadn’t discovered my strengths before, uh, as an individual, but yet having someone else to talk to me a little bit more in depth about those, about what they might mean, or, you know, reflecting on, uh, how I use those.

Right. Um, you know, I’ve, uh, for instance, this is no shocker to, to the people who may be listening that know me, but one of my top strengths is communication. I’m sitting here in front of a microphone with two friends tonight talking about things that are important to us, and we hope, uh, important and informative to you.

Um, but I find this totally comfortable for me. This is one of my strengths. And for others that might be sitting here tonight, they would rather probably be doing anything other than sitting in front of a microphone and communicating, right? Yeah. What would I say? And how would I say it in those kinds of things, right.

But yours may be analytical. Yeah, right. Maybe, maybe you’re very, very good at it. Seeing things and getting to the heart of a matter in and putting a, a process in place to that. And yet you’ve never been using those in your life, right. You’ve never, you never had anybody tell you that you’ve never had anybody look at those with you and say, Hey, I see that you’re doing this.

Have you considered that? Maybe working in those strengths may be mean something different to you or give you more joy or find a passion of yours that you never considered before. Now let’s walk through that and then go through the rest of the process to help you maybe see how that could help you down the road.

I’ve been coached many, many times in my life. I was an athlete. And, and that’s what coaches did for me. Right? Coaches, coaches love you too much to let you stay the way you are. They see something in you that you don’t see in yourself, and they help bring out the best in you. And that’s really what coaching is.

It’s just kind of guide, it’s not counseling. It’s, it’s more of a guiding, right. And, and, and tweaking and, and saying here’s, here’s where I think you’re, you know, it looks like for you and helping walk. Kind of along with them with that process. So they’re not doing it alone 

Jeff: well, and the not doing it alone thing is huge.

Right. Because it’s that. Uh, openness that transparency that just the open and honest, because this has guided guy or gal to gal or a couple of the couples. So it’s just having those real and open and honest conversations with let’s face it. Us guys really stink at that. A lot of times, you know, it’s like, Hey, uh, how’s that, how’s that football, how’s your favorite team?

Do it. And there, you know, Hey, how’s business, that’s in my world. Hey, how’s business. Oh, this is great. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, business stinks. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Okay. 

Jon: Good to see you. And you know, it’s always on that surface level. Yeah. It’s always on the side. I never dives down below. And we talked about this before Don Don would be the, the hammer in here.

Um, Don, I’ll ask you a pointed question, right. And, and I’ll do the same in the right atmosphere. It’s but you know, having people that will kind of get to the heart of the matter and ask you those things is worth everything, right. It’s worth. More than the $700 per person that we spend on Christmas gifts.

It’s worthy in my mind of what Christ gave us. You know, it it’s, it’s that redemption, it’s that second chance that we don’t deserve. Sometimes it is that helpful hand and being that representative. Here on earth for Christ, even though that’s not necessarily a part of it, if you don’t want it to be. Yeah.

There certainly is an opportunity for you to explore that if you want. And that is a, and that to me is a gift. 

Jeff: Yeah, it is a game changer and it is much like Christ in Christmas, the birth of Christ being a game changer, uh, building relationships. It it, uh, this way. I mean, it is a, there’s a, a term that’s used called discipleship.

It’s call it mentoring, it’s coaching, whatever you want to call it, but it’s building those intentional relationships and, uh, yeah, it will be if you really, if you want to grow and if you really dive in, it’ll be a game changer for you. So I would, um, Again, uh, I have a business. I, this is not a way to make money, so I will make it plead with anyone listening.

Please go to the website. Not because it’s going to, yeah, there’s some big, uh, you know, profit motive here. Uh, but because there is a huge motive, uh, for your life just to be better. And the lives of people around you to be better. And so please, uh, you know, this Christmas, take a step, uh, jump on the website.

It’s a journey,, Jerry Pretty simple. Uh, you can order the book, uh, PDF. Uh, I think I’m saying that right. 

Jon: They can download the PDF 

Jeff: or they can order the hard copy. We’ll find a coach for ya, or, uh, we will. Just to encourage you to find someone in your sphere of influence someone, you know, to just jump along and start out with a cup of coffee, just have some coffee and share your stories.

Jon: And if you don’t drink coffee, we can help you with it. 


Jeff: Start out and sit down with someone and start by sharing your story. And, and, uh, it really is a very, very cool thing. 

Jon: Well, I want to thank you both, uh, for the opportunity to, to be with you today and just talk about these important things. And, uh, I wish you both a Merry Christmas, 

Jeff: Merry Christmas 

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