“May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
I am now back in Arizona from being home for the holidays. For one week I was surrounded by family and friends. My heart was filled with nostalgia of old Christmas memories and the laughter of my nephews filled the rooms.
I was the only child staying at my parents house this holiday. My sister has her family in Enumclaw and both my brothers have moved out now. It was just my parents and I. Though I am (cough) 32, I cherished this time to just be their daughter again.
After 29 years of living in Seattle and three years in Arizona, traveling home for the holidays is still a new experience for me. I love coming home, but if I am honest, I am always little anxious how I would handle the emotions of being home and the holidays.
But, before I left one of my friends gave me some of the best advice. She said, “Put your phone down and be present with the people you are with. Facebook and Instagram and all of that will still be there. Even when you feel like you are sitting around, look around and think about amazing things going on around you like your nephews laughter. Even in the car rides. You don’t realize what you are missing.”
I wasn’t perfect the whole week being off my phone, but I tried hard. And you know what happened? I truly felt present.
I gave myself permission to JUST BE this Christmas
I gave myself permission to feel the nostalgia of the season… to be joyful…to be still and listen to the sounds of Christmas carols and laughter of my nephews… to stop and smell the balsam & cedar candles and my moms cooking… to let go of my past failures and mistakes of the year…to let go of the responsibilities of the future.
I gave myself permission to find peace in knowing my Savior has already come to clean up this imperfect, but beautiful life of mine.
Because through all the hustle and bustle, through the hard and the messy, I almost forgot the most powerful promises of the season; the ones that got lost in my anxiety and the pressure I put on myself.
The Christmas promise of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE.
PEACE that my future is already secured
JOY that my future will be better than imagined
HOPE that my Savior is coming and will come again
LOVE that is grace-filled and never ending
Jesus is truly the reason for the season. And the best part? Because of Jesus, we can receive HOPE, JOY, PEACE, LOVE the gifts of Christmas, all year.
This past year I have opened myself up to letting Jesus take over and He has taken me on an adventure that excites me more everyday: The gift of Christmas
The past year Jesus has romanced my soul into an intimacy I have never known: The Gift of Christmas
The past year Jesus has placed dreams and passions that have set my heart on fire: The Gift of Christmas
The past year Jesus has given me endless amounts of Grace from my mistakes: The Gift of Christmas
The past year Jesus gave me freedom in situations I labeled impossible: The Gift of Christmas
The past year Jesus has given me friends and family that have blessed me more than I deserve: The Gift of Christmas
The gift of Salvation
The gift of Grace
The gift of Love
The gift of Joy
The gift of Peace
The gift of Hope
As you take down your last bit of Christmas decorations…
As you begin to reschedule your work and school schedule…
As you begin to write your resolutions and To Do lists..
Christmas is not ultimately a place you go home to or a day we celebrate
Christmas is the ultimate Person
The gift of Christmas is Jesus. You don’t have to wait until next christmas to receive it. Receive it today and everyday. The magic of Christmas truly lives in our hearts.
A few pictures of my time home this year! One of the best gifts? A white Christmas!