This is and has always been my favorite time of the year. I am a Christmas nut! I would be one of those weird people who would have decorations year round if I could. I have been playing Christmas music since October. I have already watched Elf and Home Alone more than once this month. I love the feeling that Christmas season brings. Excitement, wonderment, innocence :) I have great memories growing up of Christmas. It was always fun at my house. Never a dull moment. But I realize that this isn't the case with everyone. Your memories often set the tone for your feelings about certain events. It's hard to shake a bad memory and not let it effect how you view something.
This year will be a different Christmas for me. I have had to make a conscience effort to find the joy this year. I have had to exercise determination in making this a fun year. Life has gotten in the way a little bit and caused me to have to work extra hard to even recognize it was Christmas season. I mean come on...I have only watched 4 Lifetime Christmas movies at this point and it is already the 18th of December! hahaha I know I'm a whiner :) but I don't want to be without my son for Christmas. He is going to be with his dad and I am happy that he will get to spend that time with him, but I am not glad that it will mean I will have to be without him on Christmas Day. I hate that life is what it is and I can do nothing to change it! I am one of those old sentimental types who still wants to open presents on Christmas morning because everyone knows Santa doesn't come until the night before!
As I was sitting and sulking, I realized that I was being so hypocritical. I preach to people about the greatness of the Holiday season and what it is really about. I have had the privilege of being a part of some great outreaches this year during this season where we have got to show the love of God in action. The greatest gift known to man was given...Jesus and I have gotten to be a part of giving Him to others. This should be enough alone to make me happy and in the "Christmas Spirit". We can say it's not about the gifts but about Jesus, but we are all human :) We all have that part of us that loves to receive something. To feel valued and loved. God has shown a great sense of humor with me this year. I have gotten more unexpected gifts from the mostly unlikely sources. I am blessed to be able to fly home to be with my family and my nieces and nephews. Sitting and thinking this morning, I realized I really have nothing to complain about!!! Christmas is a state of mind and heart. It is an attitude of gratitude and giving. I get the privilege to share life with my son everyday! I get the joy of watching him grow into such an incredible young man with so many gift and talents (and yes I am biased!). Not being with him on a particular day is hard but not the end of the world. I wouldn't trade the everyday with him for anything! That is the gift that I get!
I woke up this morning with a son who was still with me unlike the grieving families in Connecticut. I get the opportunity to once again, hug his neck - in private of course, because he is a teenager and I can't risk the reputation :) I get the opportunity to tell him how I great I think he is, how I believe in him and how I know that he is going to do something so great with his life! What more could I possibly ask for? I have remembered the real reason for the season and that is giving! I had wonderful parents who gave me awesome memories growing up of Christmas. I owe my son that same privilege. I want him to look back when he has a family of his own and tell stories of how he loved the holiday season because his family knew how to make it special for him. I will not let my prejudices, my emotions or my disappointments color his memories! He deserves my best. What have you allowed to set the tone for you this year? You deserve the best! You deserve happiness and peace and joy. God gave His Son for you! How awesome is that? You may have suffered through loss this year. You may find yourself in a place that you never would have imagined that you would be. You may be like me and be in a place where you will be separated from your loved ones for the first time. ONLY YOU can decide what kind of holiday you will have. Make it one that you will want to remember! :) Life is so fleeting. The older I get, the more this reality becomes so clear to me. There are not a lot of do overs. And I have determined that there is not anything that should keep me from having the heart of Christ at Christmas.
You should know that you are worth it my friends! You deserve a wonderful holiday. It may not be memorable for what you get or don't get, but it can be memorable for what you give! You are a gift that people need :) God planted something special inside each one of us and something that only we can give...that is ourselves! My prayer for you this year is that you know that you are loved and valued and that the peace of God would reign over you and hold you. Don't miss an opportunity to give a hug, to show some love to someone else. Shake off the bad memories and make new ones! Know that I love you all and am thinking of you and praying for each and everyone of you! Have a very Merry Christmas!! :)
Your Friend in life-