How much do I do? How much can I spend? Who is hosting? Do I need to buy for everyone? Where do I draw the line? Is it appropriate to have a line?
Feelings and emotions of being overwhelmed, melancholy, anxiety, even bitterness maybe. Feelings of joy, excitement, contentedness.
We can feel all of these on any given day. Maybe we're separated from family this year or every year. Maybe we've lost a loved one. Maybe we got a bonus and are able to give gifts. Maybe it snowed and it just made put us even more in the Christmas Spirit.
As different thoughts parade through my mind I am reminded that choosing joy is completely my choice. That it's okay to do whatever it takes to ensure that the Christmas and Holiday season are filled with peace and joy. As I listen to Christmas music, bake, and wrap presents, plan menus, invite people over I think of what this season is about, what I want it to mean. What I want to remember. I remember that I want it to be centered around family and friends and reaching out to others, especially those who have a hard time with this time of year. Just the other day I delivered some homemade goodies to two of my neighbors who have both lost spouses in the last few years and this year isn't their favorite time right now. They appreciated the gesture and the chat we had for a few minutes. There are so many ways to bring joy to others whether it be the checker trying to put on a happy face with grumpy customers who waited until the last minute to shop, or your own family.
Remembering that joy isn't a result of our circumstances, but a result of our inner heart condition.
Do you think these things to? Do you ponder the season and what you want it to mean? Are you inspired by seeing the goodness of others in action? I love watching FB videos of the love and joy that people are extending to others. As much as I love giving gifts to friends and family, I also love thinking of the beautiful gift of Jesus to the world. It reminds me that being "other-centered" should happen all throughout the year. Giving our lives and the comfort of our lives to bring hope, joy, love to others should always be active in our lives. That whenever we extend these things, we extend Jesus to others because He is in each and every one of us, some just need to be awakened to it, and when we show them love, care, hope, grace, we help with that awakening.
"When we remember a special Christmas, it is not the presents that made it special, but the laughter, the feeling of love, and the togetherness of friends and family that made that Christmas special"---Catherine Pulsifer
As you enjoy your families this weekend, take time to breathe, take it all in, let things go if you need to and just cherish the memories. We know it's not all Hallmark moments and Hallmark families. One desire of my blog is that it's just real...not much staging going on here to get the perfect picture, my family is not that patient. My life isn't that staged on a daily basis so blog pictures probably won't be either, as much as I've tried. So just "be". Let go of some expectations, take time to get up a bit early or stay up a bit later to get focused and at peace and rest.
You are greatly loved!
With Joy Unquenchable,