Tis the Season

I believe I was in 5th grade. My mom went so overboard for Christmas that year I actually still remember it. When you’re a kid, Christmas is mostly about getting presents. This particular year was full of surprises. I was at the age when sports were really starting to be a main focal point. I was (and still am) a huge Notre Dame football fan. I opened a wrapped #3 Irish jersey that year, in honor of the great Joe Montana. I also opened a San Francisco 49ers Jerry Rice jersey, who was my favorite NFL player at the time. I even remember getting a couple pairs of Zubaz, which were like a sports team’s version of MC Hammer pants. I was elated. I received so much of what I WANTED. I felt loved. I felt cool with my new clothes. I was happy, because I received gifts I wanted.

Funny how our perspective of Christmas changes over the years. My mother still shows her love by giving gifts, yet as of late came to realization she’d rather buy us a vacation to spend more time together than actually give us a bunch of presents or gift cards. I admire this shift in her perspective, as time is certainly something we cannot purchase more of. My perspective of Christmas has evolved over the holidays as well. I realize how blessed I am just to be healthy as I sit here typing. I also realize how blessed I am to have healthy family members and friends. I realize how blessed I am to have growing FAITH. I realize more than ever how much of a blessing each moment can be, especially with the right perspective.

I suppose over the years I’ve become more of a gift giver than a gift receiver. Don’t get me wrong, a thoughtful gift is still nice to receive, yet I don’t crave getting the perfect gift like I did during adolescence. I GREATLY enjoy giving gifts to those who wouldn’t normally buy something for themselves. My dad is the ultimate example of this. He’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, with no expectations of receiving anything in return. I enjoy buying him golf gear most years for Christmas because I know he’ll wear it, he likes it, and he wouldn’t buy these things for himself. Most of his clubs, shirts, hats, golf balls and tees came as gifts from me. I secretly help my dad have more style as an ulterior motive, I mainly enjoy giving to someone who has given so much to me. 🙂 I pray he enjoys Christmas back in my home state of Indiana; I certainly will be missing him!

The tree is full this year (as you can see above). I went overboard on a few people. I love watching the faces of loved ones opening a thoughtful gift, especially when they aren’t expecting it. I also love writing little notes of love and appreciation in Christmas cards, as my admiration and care for someone is hopefully worth more to them than any gift I could buy. I’m excited to give a few very awesome people some really neat things this year. Although once again, I’m realizing even this isn’t as important or exciting to me. My perspective of the holidays continues to shift.

I loved Christmas as a kid because I woke up to a bunch of presents to open. I loved Christmas even more as a young adult because while I still received gifts, I could also reciprocate. I’m loving Christmas even more now because I realize the meaning is way deeper than getting and giving. Christmas is about the entire season for me, not just the day. The entire season is one of JOY and GRATITUDE if perspective is in check. I love Christmas music, sipping coffee by the Christmas tree and watching countless old Christmas movies to soak up holiday nostalgia. I have traditionally been filled with excitement on Christmas Eve, followed by borderline depression after all gifts were opened Christmas morning. I don’t experience this roller coaster of emotion much these days because I realize it’s not just about gifts. Christmas is about time with loved ones, gratitude for blessings, Christmas songs, decorations and so much more. Perhaps this is where the saying ‘Tis the Season comes from- gratitude for the process of Christmas and what it truly stands for…

I feel so much gratitude for a baby born over 2,000 years ago. Our Saving Grace’s birthday is celebrated Christmas Day. I pray we all remember what Christmas is truly about. Maybe a whisper of Happy Birthday is in order throughout our celebrations tomorrow. Perhaps you’re one more likely to scream from the mountain tops “Happy Birthday Jesus!” Whatever works for you, let’s just remember the true meaning. I pray we reflect on the Grace so many of us have experienced and been transformed by on Christmas this year.

I also pray that as each Christmas passes, I will be closer to Him who LIGHTS up my world. Jesus is THE LIGHT of my life. Perhaps my perspective of the Christmas season has transformed as I’ve drawn closer to Him. I believe this is the case. I pray you feel a little more Grace as you sit by your Christmas tree this year. I pray we all remember that without His birthday we wouldn’t celebrate Christmas; actually we wouldn’t be celebrating much of anything.

May you have a blessed Christmas with your loved ones. Here’s to focusing on time and gratitude for our blessings, while spreading JOY and CHEER throughout the season. Let’s all be LIGHTS for others to find Grace. Let’s spread LOVE this Christmas!

To fully experience the journey you can follow @Surrender_Project on Instagram.

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