The holiday season is here, in all of its merriment, brightness, and glory. The movies are on television, one right after the other, with classics like Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and It’s a Wonderful Life. The radio stations are playing those timeless holiday tunes such as White Christmas, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, and Oh Holy Night. And the small shops and department stores are buzzing with business as people check items off their gift list for family and friends. Yes, Christmastime is here and the day itself is just over a week and a half away … how time flies!
As I have in years past, I managed to finish my Christmas shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I even got all of our Christmas cards filled out, addressed, stamped, and in the mail as of last week. I truly didn’t think I’d get it done as quickly this year with everything that has been going on. But I am so grateful I did. More than ever this year, I have felt the need to just slow down and really bask in this holiday season, and the true meaning and purpose of it all. That has meant less hustle and bustle, and more time spent being present and reveling in the simple and small things. It’s been an absolute joy, and exactly what this girl needs – on so many levels.
Here’s a glimpse of some of those special things I’ve been enjoying so far in this Christmas season …
Our Christmas tree all aglow and the warmth of the fire. Nothing beats those quiet early morning hours spent next near the tree or coming home to this after a long day of work.
The Advent Devotional by Naptime Diaries has been a welcome companion to me this season. I have really enjoyed the readings each day and getting to create via bible journaling. I’m so glad I invested in this sweet little booklet and appreciate all that God is speaking to me through His Word, and through the entries of the various authors.
The annual holiday light parade and lighting of City Hall in our small town. It never ceases to be a fun and festive way to share in Christmas cheer, and this year we invited my dad and step-mom to join us and had a great time together!
The Capitol Christmas Tree. Despite working in the city during the daytime hours, we don’t spend much of our evening time there, so each year we make a special trip into town just to see this; it’s always a lovely sight to see our downtown area ablaze in lights and clothed with wreathes and bright red ribbons for the holidays!
A highlight of my full-time job as a Social Worker / Director of a large organization is getting to meet amazing people and come on board as a partner with projects serving those in need. This year, it was an honor to participate with the Mateen Cleaves 1 Goal, 1 Passion Hope for the Holidays initiative and provide families with some additional assistance for Christmas. And meeting Mateen was, to put it very simply, So. Cool.
Serving those in need at Christmastime is probably the BEST part of my job, as it’s truly a community-wide endeavor and an opportunity for many to get involved. We serve families from all over the Capital Area (three counties) and it takes the efforts of donors, Marines, staff, and volunteers to make it all happen. This year, I encouraged and invited family and friends to participate and it’s been awesome to have some of them come out to join in on this season of giving, helping parents “shop” for gifts for their children. It’s truly a humbling and wonderful experience, and an honor to be lead this project.
Quality time with my favorite guy. This is our eleventh Christmas together and each year, the endless demands for our attention increase with family, work, and other things that pop up in the course of our weeks. This year, we’ve been intentional in making the most of our downtime and doing our best to keep our focus on what truly matters in this season. I’m grateful that our hearts are aligned in the same way and that we have the support of one another in what can be a most busy and stressful time.
You see, for me, the magic of Christmas isn’t found in the buying, and the getting, and the endless rush of activities. The magic of Christmas is found in the simple things. The twinkling of lights. The warmth of the fire. The love of our Savior. The fun of gathering with loved ones. The joy of serving others. The peace of being present. And the whimsy of doing things that make my heart happy.
That’s where it’s at for me this holiday season.