I am a bonafide Christmas Fanatic. I love everything about the holiday - matching PJ’s, daily hot cups of hot chocolate (and I do mean practically daily), cruising the neighborhood for the best decorated chateau, and a home filled with baking smells and music that makes you twirl on tiptoes and your heart swell with joy. Truth be told, I would probably have my tree anchored and adorned at the first gust of a fall breeze, but, I was raised in the home of a devout seasonal observer, so I reserve the trimmings until after Thanksgiving. I thoroughly enjoy the all of the traditions, but what I value most is the love and spirit of togetherness that the holiday ushers in. It nudges us to reflect on, and appreciate the things that are intangible, and love a little harder on our loved ones. And this season, the significance of selflessness and the notion being present versus receiving more presents has had an even greater tug on my heart.
As a Christian, I know that Christmas really isn’t about gifts or all of the “traditions” that I enjoy. It's about LOVE - God’s love for us demonstrated by sending a savior, and honoring that love by sharing it with everyone around you. This year our nation, our world, has bore witness to countless stories of racial and socioeconomic injustice, brutality, terrorism, political perplexity, and the list goes on. With that kind of weight looming, what a blessing it is to close out the year with such a celebration as Christmas. The very essence of the holiday encourages us to slow down, think of someone other than yourself, and share light and love.
With every passing year, I am more cognizant of the internal shift occurring that focuses more on who's around to celebrate with and importance of reaching out to help others. If you receive one less gift this year than the last, or if something was missing from your list, lets put things in perspective. There are individuals who have far less than us, some that are currently fighting for freedom, and others still, that did not make it to see this holiday. In Christmases to follow, you may have a hard time trying to recall what gifts you received the year before, but what won’t be forgotten is who was around to spend it with, and the hearts you were able to touch. If you have lost loved ones, I know how especially difficult this time of year can be. Let us remember them by paying homage to their legacy, commit to creating our own, and continue passing on the joy that Christmas is truly meant to bring.