Oh boy. The music is on the radio. The family schedules are being planned. The specials are on TV (seriously, did anyone else notice that the SNL Christmas Special aired Wednesday? On November 28th?). This all adds up to one thing…
Christmas is here!
Every year, people around the world wait in line for hours for $1.50 off a neck tie, stretch their credit limits buying gifts, and eat themselves sick with treats and egg nog. This adds up to enough mental stress to literally hear those “sweet silver bells” in your ears throughout the night. The holiday buffet is notorious for ruining healthy eating habits the world over. And this year, the season lasts even longer due to Thanksgiving being about as early as it can be.
And yet…Christmas is special. This time of year is different than any other, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside every time the calendar turns to December. Why is that?
This year I am truly realizing how much joy and love were wrapped up in that precious gift about 2,012 years ago. Some things that have come to my mind this week:
– God created all of us for a relationship with Him. He loved us and wanted a loving relationship with us, but we constantly turned away and chased after our own invented desires, creating a roller coaster of ignoring Him or demanding miracles from Him for centuries. Could I put up with that behavior in the relationships in my life?
– Instead of giving up on His creation, He decided to love us even more. He gave his one and only son and sent him to Earth to save the very people who were ignoring and mocking Him. Think about that. Have I ever even heard of an unconditional love like this?
– The King of the World should have announced his arrival with trumpets, lightning, earthquakes, and booming voices. There should have been shiny gifts and angels presenting Him from heaven. Instead, He was born to a virgin teenager and her nervous fiance in a dirty barn with a bunch of smelly animals. This was the gift to save the human race, and they didn’t even get invited into a house. Hollywood couldn’t even write this story. If I was a king, would I have entered like this? Is that fair?
So instead of stressing about what to buy your nephew or how many cookies you need to bake for your party, take a second for a deep breath. Think about that gift we all were given. Isn’t that incredible?! That’s an amount of love that is hard to imagine. And it’s meant for you. And your family and friends. So before you get stressed or frustrated about gifts or diets this season, think of that gift of love.
No wonder this time of year is different. No wonder there is so much joy and love in houses all over the world during this season. There is a reason for that. And that reason is Jesus. God sent Him to save an unworthy people, and we were given the gift of love and forgiveness and eternal life. Rejoice! Celebrate! Be happy during this time of year, because it is truly the best gift ever given! And make sure to say a prayer of thanks before pouring another cup of egg nog.
Isn’t it nice when you start the work week on a Wednesday? I’m thankful for that. Since today is basically Thursday (and therefore almost the weekend), I’m in a good mood. And I’m thankful for that.
Thanksgiving is only 2 days away. That means I have 48 hours until I am passed out on my couch drooling because I ate too much turkey, too many rolls, and a few too many spoonfuls of mashed potatoes. I’m thankful and excited about that! Some of you may have seen or participated in the Facebook “thankful” movement. It included posting a different status every day about something/someone you are “thankful for” for the 22 days leading up to Turkey Day. It was a cool idea and I’m sad I didn’t get in on it. So I’m making up for lost time before it’s too late! Here’s 22 things I’m thankful for, in no particular order:
I am thankful for Christmas music. Although I won’t allow myself to listen to it until after Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for God. He has done some amazing things in my life this past year and has opened my eyes to incredible relationships and exciting future opportunities. We’ve grown closer this past year and I’m so thankful for that.
I am thankful for Google. Remember when you had to read books or ask experts when you wanted to learn how to do something? Ha.
I am thankful for my Christian girlfriend. She is such a strong woman and a true inspiration to me. She has brought an unbelievable amount of joy, laughter, and love into my life.
I am thankful for Twinkies….damn.
I am thankful for my health. This year I’ve seen people around me lose their good health, and it’s sad. Even if you don’t have the body you want or that “ideal weight” you have in your mind, be thankful that you are healthy enough to use your body and mind on a daily basis. I am.
I am thankful to have a job. Being a recent college graduate, I see many of my friends looking for work and I’m praying for them. They’re talented, and I’m confident they will all find jobs. But I am thankful to be employed and to be making money when so many haven’t been as fortunate.
I am thankful for football. I can’t imagine fall without it. Procrastinating work and “to do” lists is never easier than when football is on TV.
I am thankful for kids. They keep everyone young and they bring their energy and happiness to family gatherings all over the world this time of year.
I am thankful for memories. The holidays always bring back memories of my childhood around this time, and I think that happens for a lot of people. That is one reason that this time of year is so special!
I am thankful for beer. Who isn’t?
I am thankful for movies. This time of year always seems to bring out all the “Oscar-quality” movies, and I love going to the theater on snowy weekends. I am also thankful for all the classic Christmas movies we will watch over the next month. A couple favorites:
I am thankful for social media. I love seeing pictures of cousins from Colorado and Montana. I have friends that went to college in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, but I can harass them from right here in Iowa. This technology has allowed us to keep in touch with people all over the world within seconds, and I love it.
I am thankful for good friends. I have always been blessed with a great circle of friends, and as we are entering the “real world”, it is fun to have such great people in the same boat with me.
I am thankful for fantasy football. If you can make games between the Chiefs and Browns intriguing to me, you are onto something. Good work!
I’m thankful to live in Iowa. Don’t laugh! Iowa has it going on lately. I’ve been here my whole life, but just recently have I started realizing what a blessing it is to live here, and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else.
I am thankful for my family. They are always there for me, and they have been so supportive of me in this time of “transition” after college.
I am thankful to be an American. I know the election caused divisions and disagreements all over the country, but isn’t it amazing that we actually have an election? We are free when so many are not, and that is a blessing.
I am thankful for no snow yet. I’m cool with snow from December 24th-January 1st. After that, it better melt and leave me alone for the rest of the year.
I am thankful for football coach Paul Rhoads. I am an Iowa State graduate, so naturally I love the Cyclones. Paul Rhoads has done it again at ISU, and is taking the Cyclones to their 3rd bowl game in 4 years. For a program that has never had any consistent success, this guy is leading us in the right direction and it’s freakin’ awesome.
I am thankful for a long weekend.
I am thankful for a short work week. Are those the same thing?
What are you thankful for? Leave a comment or tweet me @HolyHappyHealth!