Most people are familiar with the Christmas movie “Elf” where Buddy the elf is Christmas obsessed and somehow always finds a way to get into trouble or cause an uproar with all things Christmas related.
Well, my friends, you have met your human version of Buddy the Elf – minus the trouble and uproars (usually). I am Christmas obsessed, although over the past 5 years my love for Christmas has evolved and changed. Maybe it’s just a by product of getting older and, as some say happens as you grow older, getting a tad bit wiser too.
As I look forward towards the month of December I’m not waiting in anticipation of the same things I used to be. I used to look forward to shopping, getting gifts, hanging stockings, Christmas parties, etc. Now, my favorite parts of this, unfortunately highly commercialized season, are the opportunities to give, to say Merry Christmas, to play and listen to magical music, to see the world transform in front of my eyes from a generic gray and blue to a whimsical red, green, and white. There’s no doubt about it – Christmas is magical. But what warms my heart the most is seeing even the sourest person take the opportunity of this season to act kindly and to share love. It’s all about the love, ya’ll!
This is my chance to unabashedly pay it forward – not just in the fast food drive through, but in all areas of my life. This is the season of performances, as a musician. And although I LOVE the fancy orchestral performances, dances, the Nutcracker, etc…my favorite performances are the ones I do wearing jeans and Christmas shirt at the local food bank, the nursing home, in the mall by the salvation army bucket. I can only hope and pray that people can hear the REAL reason for the season in my music that I share and that they can see love, kindness, and hope in my smile that I aim to give out freely and in abundance.
May I stray a little bit off topic for a moment? Traditionally over the past 5-6 years, the holidays have been a source of extreme stress and anxiety at my house. They have caused dread, distress, and pain…it’s hard to not let the patterns of the past impact my feelings towards the seasons which is hurdling down upon us right now. There have been a few things that have helped me cope with the idea of yet another holiday season. For one thing, being away from home for the past 3 months (and counting) has made the pain a little bit more distant. Mind you, it’s still present, but it’s easier not to dwell on it when it isn’t being shoved in my face every day. My patience has had a chance to refuel itself and my heart has had a little bit of a break from the anguish. Another thing, and what may not be so apparent to those around me, is that I am a totally different person from past holiday seasons. My faith has grown tremendously even in just the past year, alone. My confidence, although still shakeable, is more grounded and steady than ever before in my life. The most important part of my transformation? My sense of self-worth is strongly rooted in Jesus Christ. Disappointments, pain, hurt, etc all still surround me – but I am able (more often than not) to respond to them rather than to react to them. To God be the glory!!!
All that being said, I am looking forward to this holiday season for reasons far different than in the past. I know it won’t be an easy time necessarily, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be filled with Joy. I am looking forward to giving back to others and sharing love, kindness, hope, and the story of Jesus Christ with all those around me in the coming month…and hopefully all through the new year as well!
Many years ago, I never understood how anyone could dread or dislike the holiday season, but having experienced those feelings myself, I understand. And that’s why I’ve decided to change my focus from the expectations of the past (both joyful ones and ones of disappointment) and focus solely on the true reason for the season – that Jesus Christ came to earth to save us! I’m focusing on giving back music, kindness, joy, love, and hope this season! What will you choose to focus on?!
Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM1XusYVqNY
Do something unexpected this Christmas – whether it’s starting a new tradition or doing something kind for yourself. What I plan to do that’s unexpected this year is walk into stressful, difficult situations with a level head, confidence, and a heart that’s focused on Jesus. I mean, “That’s Brilliant! They won’t be expecting that!”
“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
Merry Christmas everyone!