Enjoying Christmas and Feeling Gratitude this Holiday Season

Ho, Ho, Ho and Merry Christmas! Christmas is only 2 weeks away, and I’m not really sure that I’m ready for Christmas to be here yet. We should have more time to get ready and enjoy the season rather than just feeling all of the stress and pressure of shopping and trying to find the perfect gift. I must be getting more used to Colorado because the weather betrayed me more than usual this year. We’ve had 80 degree weather almost through the entire month of November. I’ve been watching the weather report daily as the ski slopes have pushed back opening day further and further due to a lack of snow, and I wonder if we’ll get another white Christmas. Before we moved to Colorado, I had never seen a White Christmas. I was always traveling away from the city that got snow or was traveling to a city that had a small flurry right before I got there. Either way, my timing was always wrong.

After we started celebrating Christmas because Christ had been born, I realized that we had been celebrating the wrong things. Christmas is not about the tree, the Elves on the shelf, or the presents under the tree. Christmas is not about the irritating mall traffic, crashing websites or sales. Christmas is not about carols, superb dinners or movies explaining what Christmas is really about either. Christmas is not eggnog, mistletoe or cookies either.

Christmas remains a state of mind that strives to bring God’s kingdom to earth, and Christmas gives us a glimpse into what it looks like when we act like Christians. Christmas offers hope to the entire world every year. People slow down and visit family. We cook meals, and we sit down to eat them without texting or posting on Facebook. We talk to each other. We give to charities, and we donate our time to feeding the homeless. We act on our thoughts about the poor and the marginalized as we gather coats and mittens to distribute to the homeless. We unashamedly sing songs of praise and worship about Jesus. Most importantly, we do. By doing for others, we tap into our gratitude for the gift of eternal life, and we show people the love of Jesus. We smile more and forgive other people for being rude. Gratitude makes December the best month of the year, and I find myself wishing that December lasted longer or that we could hold onto that feeling of peace longer. Instead January becomes a month of snow and salt with a bitter wind swirling every where.

So, just stop. Take a moment to give thanks for your blessings. Enjoy your family, and slow down enough to do the little things that make memories. Tuck the love of Jesus deep into your heart because that love creates the miracle of Christmas. Now pull that love out every month, and feel the hope, love and the renewal that you feel in December. Remember the warm glow of the lights, the feeling of family and the uplifting music of praise. Now give that Christmas gift all through out the year. The Son of God chose to be born a man and sacrificed himself by dying to ensure our ability to choose between good and evil. The Baby Boy born at Christmas and celebrated around the globe turned the world on its end with his gift of love. I challenge you to share Christmas all year long deliberately, and then next Christmas I guarantee that you will celebrate the important things about Christmas not just the stuff that gathers around Christmas.



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