CHRISTMAS! It is truly of my most favourite times of the year!
I know that last Christmas, 2020, we were in the height on the pandemic. And while this year is better than the last, it may not be the 'same' as what we were used to Christmas looking like.
Nonetheless, we have made it. The past two years have certainly taught me a lot about what is important to me. It has forced me - like others - to re-evaluate my priorities and pay attention to the blessings I have...which we so often take for granted or brush over.
This Holiday Season, I urge you to take time to reflect on the past year - and think of your blessings.
I recently started a new routine: each morning I wake up and reflect on 10 things I am grateful for. The catch, though, is that is has to be specific. For example, I might be thankful for having an especially nice sleep, or being in my warm bed on a cold night. I might be thankful that even though I have a long day, I am very thankful for having a career I enjoy. I might be thankful for my warm cup of tea on a cold morning, or that I spent a great night with my family the day before.
The benefit of this is that it has taught me to notice the simple things in life. I am very thankful for my clothes, but on most days, I don't stop to notice this and realize how much of a blessing it is to have clothes that fit and keep me warm. Similarly, though I love my family, I don't always stop to notice how much I appreciate the warm hugs they offer, the texts they send to check on me, etc.
I encourage you to adopt a practice of gratitude. It has truly changed how I start the mornings - usually the busiest time of the day. It doesn't take long, either! All you have to do is take the time to THINK. This can even be in the shower when you get ready, as you wait in the drive-through line, in the highway when there is traffic building up, as you pump gas into your car, as you make your breakfast, etc.
I pray that December 2021 ends, and you welcome 2022 with new-found gratitude. Does being thankful mean that 'all is well' and that you can never be sad, angry, or desire something else in your life?
No. But it does mean that you are able to appreciate that while you might not have 'everything' and life 'is not always simple', there are MANY wonders and joys to be grateful for. It means that you can use mindfulness and gratitude to encourage you, to notice how blessed and capable you are.
Try it. Trust me - you won't be disappointed.
This Christmas season, I pray that you find joy in the simple, but often overlooked, things. I pray that the peace of Jesus Christ fills your heart with warmth, joy, and comfort. I pray that the reminders of the wonderful blessings we have fills you with content, and helps you navigate the difficulties that may arise.
From my grateful heart to yours: Merry Christmas and Happy New year! May you be full of joy as we welcome our Sweet, Loving Saviour into the world...Joy truly has come!