The Most Wonderful Time of Year
We just ordered our first family portrait Christmas cards and I’m beaming with excitement. One thing I love is to go out to the mailbox and see Christmas cards. We have an area in our kitchen dedicated to displaying Christmas cards and event invitations. Are you like me? Do you love it, too?
This year is special for us because it’s our daughter’s first Christmas. We are excited to see her reactions to the atmosphere this season brings. So far we are loving her “ooo”s over Christmas trees, ornaments, and holiday decor. We’ve actually even got ahead in our Christmas shopping. I’m feeling great. But I feel a fight for joy.
As I was preparing our envelopes to send out, I couldn’t help but think of the those who aren’t having a wonderful year. Those who lost dear loved ones. Those who lost jobs. Those who are homeless or orphaned. Those who are struggling with financial hardships. Those who are simply struggling with the stress the season sometimes brings. I am overwhelmed with compassion for all those struggling, for whatever the reason. Through the struggle in the valley, the victory on the mountain top, and everywhere in between, it is so important we remember to pause and include the source of all our joy, Jesus. This season is a reminder that life is all about Him, after all.
During this season, I try to remind myself of a few things:
1. It’s always about Jesus
2. Refocus my mind
3. Cheerful and heartfelt giving
Whether this season has been the best or the worst, if you’re struggling, or simply getting worked up trying to reach for the ideals of the season (or those marketed to us that we buy into), remember the true purpose of this season. Jesus should always be the center, this season and every day. It’s so important we do everything we can to keep our relationship with Him first, above all else.
Let us not to focus on what could be, should be, is not, will not, but rather focus on every blessing we can count. I’ve had to do this myself, so I started keeping a list of all the things I’m grateful for and keep adding to it, reminding myself of all the good in my life. It has helped me refocus and breathe, become even more grateful and enjoy every moment with Jesus as best as I can.
Another area I often need to refocus when things aren’t going “my way” is to stop focusing on everyone I want, and everyone else meeting my expectations. Instead I need to remember I’m not perfect, so I think about how I can be a better person to everyone in my world, including to myself.
Finally, taking time to give rather than receive. Maybe you too see hurting people around you. Maybe you can do something to bring a little extra cheer. “They” do say, cheerful giving (of gifts, time or service) is good medicine. It’s another way to focus on others rather than ourselves.
If we walk with Jesus, search for the good, and be available to give, that’s what creates the amazing atmosphere this season has to offer. It truly is the most wonderful time of year.