Christmas is one of those holidays that brings love and good cheer. It’s also one that triggers memories from childhood or moments with loved ones. So I’m sharing a couple that crossed my mind this season. Enjoy!
Nativity in a One Light Town
In a small Virginia town, where the only traffic light’s hailed as a major fascination, one family dared to be different at Christmas. That family, led by a pastor and his wife, chose to share the true meaning of the holiday with everyone who passed their home.
Helping with this endeavor, the couple’s four-year-old placed straw in and around the manger for the plastic baby Jesus to rest while the ten-year-old wiggled Jesus’ synthetic parents into their hovering poses. The pastor secured the makeshift barn as his wife painted final touches on the wooden cutout animals. He’d string a row of colorful lights along the porch awning…
Today is the 5th birthday of my 39th year. 😉 I am so grateful for this day and for the awesome (and not so awesome) experiences that have gotten me to this point in life.
Looking back over the years, I have fond memories of the people and places that helped shape my life. The good times playing in the snow, reciting verses in Christmas and Easter pageants, cheerleading, band, and so much more.
The lessons learned and the avenues to help me grow into the woman I am today. The wisdom from my elders, employers, church leaders, and loved ones in the community.
When a new year arrives, it brings about promises for change, aspirations to achieve dreams, or meet some type of goal or resolution. But this year, it’s a little different for me. Instead of looking forward, I’m reflecting on years past. Years when loved ones were still around, and the whys of actions (or lack thereof) remained a curiosity of a shy young lady too scared to rock the boat. And too afraid to trust anyone with the secrets in her head and her heart.
Building a wall may have been a security blanket, but who did it really keep warm? Certainly not me. I realize now that I shut out many who only wanted the best for me, and kept silent about the ones who meant the worst.
Things are different now. The wall’s coming down.
For 2018, my plan is very simple. Live a life that is pleasing to God and treat others with love and kindness. Of course I will still continue with the other goals that matter to me like this blog, and the bucket list items mentioned awhile ago (which I’m happy to announce I now know how to swim and had a blast in L.A.). At the end of the day, or rather, when I’m old and gray(er), I want to look at my life and see not only material accomplishments, but be encircled by loved ones. It may not sound like much, but to me it’s everything.
“What? Care for my body? How does that have anything to do with writing?”
Well, take a minute and hear me out.
It is common for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and basically any go-getters out there to work toward their goal without stop, without rest, and without realizing the strain they are putting on their bodies because they are so focused on their goal. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with desiring to accomplish your goal. In fact, it’s a good thing! Having goals and dreams worth pursuing is great.
However, we must also remember that we are only human. We are not Wonder Woman or Superman with everlasting endurance and health. It is possible that when we work too hard and forget to rest that we strain both our bodies and our minds.
For instance, I am a type-A personality for sure. I also work toward multiple goals…
As we express our gratitude,we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John F. Kennedy
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where we’re filled with gratitude and emotion over all the things the good Lord showered on us. Some give back to their communities, volunteering time and resources to help the less fortunate. While others share a meal with family and friends remembering times past. And yet there are those in hospitals, nursing homes, living alone, on the streets, or hidden in alleyways – forgotten or neglected. Please remember these loved ones in your prayers and with your presence this season. Let’s turn our words of thanks into a blessing for others.