A short lesson from a devotional book I'm reading (Thanks Pete, it is great!):
A man walked next to the shore and found a crowd gathered close to the water. As he drew closer he saw a man in a self-made boat getting ready to row across the ocean. As he was preparing, the crowd tried to persuade him to abort his attempt. "You will never make it in that boat!", "You will burn in the sun!", "You don't have enough food" were some of the comments made. As he set off, this man ran to the water's edge, yelling "Go for it! You can make it! We are proud of you". As he turned back the crowd stood silent. They asked him "Do you seriously believe that he can make it?". He responded "I don't know, but when he is in trouble I hope that he will remember my words and not yours!".
Words have the power to motivate or to discourage. Choose your words carefully, especially as we enter this Christmas season.