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Christmas Memories

As I sit in the stillness of the morning sipping my coffee with only the light of the Christmas tree my mind is flooded with memories. Each ornament on the tree holds a memory, some of places we’ve been and others of people special to us. There are replicas of childhood toys, precious ornament from Mom’s family, and a special ornament to honor my dad.

ornaments

It is often said that Christmas is for children, and for most of us Christmas absolutely brings out the child in us. How many of us turn on Christmas specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas or Rudolph and Frosty whether or not there are children in our homes?

I am blessed with so many childhood memories at Christmas. Some were not particularly fun at the time…the year we had to wait upstairs with Mom until 9 or 10 am because Dad had to dig everyone out from the Christmas Eve snowstorm (we walked to Grandma & Grandpa’s that year as he never did plow our driveway) but now they are fun memories.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is making Christmas cookies with Grandma and Grandpa. I can still take myself back to that farm kitchen, pressing out the spritz cookies, drizzling the icing and sprinkling the non pareils (I wonder if Grandma was finding them on the floor until Easter!) The house would fill with wonderful smells, and you could be sure Dad and Uncle Kenneth would stop in at some point to check our creations.

Christmas Cookie Kids

Christmas memories can also be bittersweet as we celebrate without those precious to us. Some are miles away, unable to get ‘home’ for Christmas, while others we won’t celebrate with again until we see them in Heaven. It can be difficult to get through some of the happy memories when they are tied to those we miss so much, especially if we’re without them for the first time.

As Christmas creeps ever closer, please consider those your life touches that may be having a tough time with Christmas memories and don’t leave them out of your holiday. Take some extra time to visit them, or invite them to participate in your activities. While we can’t take away the sadness we can perhaps help make new memories that will bring joy in the midst of the sadness.

What are your favorite Christmas memories? I hope your Christmas season brings more joy than sadness and each year brings new happy memories to carry with you through the years.

blessings & peace to you!
Paula

This post is part of the Unwrap Your Memories Campaign for Destiny USA. Check them out here: destinyusa.com

PS –  Have you joined the Christmas Kindness Challenge yet? Details are here: http://wp.me/p1ARIh-e3

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Grateful

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Today we paused to give thanks for all we have, for all we’ve been spared, for blessings that abound.

At my house the turkey is now leftovers and we are all stuffed. Our family has gone on home…only the memories remain of treasured time together. Now we will move on from Thanksgiving.

As I settle into the quietness I am reflective.

I am grateful…

I am blessed.

And I wonder…

As we move on from Thanksgiving will we also move on from being thankful?

Give-Thanks

Will our days become filled with wants and must-haves as we put up our trees and lights, filling our homes with gifts and treats?

Please don’t misunderstand. I love Christmas and so much that comes with that precious season. I love the time to focus on the gift of Christ coming to earth as a baby. I love the sense of magic in the air as people seem a little kinder and willing to believe that the would can be good.

But I still want Thanksgiving to live on every day.

I want to live a life of gratefulness. To focus on the good…the blessings…every little thing.

I want to look at the world through a gratitude filter, finding good all around me, and bringing good to others.

Most especially I want to live a life filled with thankfulness for God’s great love for us.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

It may seem like an exaggeration, but I don’t care.

Will you join me?

Let’s see if we can help the spirit of Thanksgiving live on all throughout the year.

blessings and peace to you…
Paula

 

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Reluctant Thankfulness

I chuckle when I see or hear the phrase, “It’s the time of year to be thankful.”

Of course we should be thankful all year-long, but with Thanksgiving around the corner our focus bends towards being thankful more than other times of the year. As Black Friday sales press in on us from every side concentrating on thankfulness brings into focus what we have more than what we have not.

cornucopia

I’m wondering, though. Does your thankfulness ever come reluctantly?

We are human and our lives are sometimes laced with circumstances where it isn’t always easy to be thankful. Our family’s festivities will be mixed with sadness as we are without a very special uncle who went to Heaven earlier this year. Maybe you face a similar situation or something even more difficult.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The apostle Paul encourages us to

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

That’s a pretty tall order!

In fact it’s easy for me to read this and see it as impossible. How can people be happy all the time and never grumble about circumstances we are in? If I don’t always rejoice and pray or have trouble giving thanks am I outside of God’s will for my life?

Let’s look at this verse with perspective.

I believe God doesn’t ask us to be thankful for all circumstances, but as the verse says, be thankful in all circumstances.The reality is that it is difficult to be thankful for some things. God knows this. However in the midst of the difficulty we always have something worthy of thanks.

This request is much easier when we follow what precedes the instruction…pray continually. When we pray and put ourselves in God’s hands we will find a strength we didn’t know we had and joy hiding in unexpected places.

If your thankfulness comes reluctantly this year, or if you’re struggling to be thankful at all, please be encouraged and seek God’s strength to get you through. If you need some earthly encouragement please let me know. I would be honored to stand with you in prayer.

Would you have a story of thankfulness to share with us today? We would be encouraged by the experiences of others.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and peace, and blessings galore.
Paula