Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Nostalgia

Ahhh, nostalgia. . . .

Years ago a dear friend gave our family a book of 100+ Christmas stories. I know she spent many, many, many hours compiling the stories, typing them up, embellishing the pages, putting them into plastic sleeves, and finally placing them all in a beautifully decorated binder. In a word it is AMAZING. It's filled with beautiful, sentimental, and entertaining stories that bring the Spirit of Christmas into my home. It has a special spot on my bookshelf during the year, but the day after Thanksgiving it gets center-stage on the front room coffee table. It has become a symbol for the season just as much as the tree, lights, stockings, and nativity scene we put up every year. It never ceases to amaze me how words on a page have the power to transform the hearts of those who read them. But I think it's not just the book, but the sacrifice of her time and talents in order to give us such an incredible gift that makes it so special and powerful.

Is it no wonder that this season inspires a desire to sacrifice? To do more for others than we tend to do the rest of the year? There is a power and a majesty about the Christmas season that has the ability to transform hearts if we aren't too caught up in the hustle to feel it.

Christmas is a time of reflection. Every ornament, decoration, and smell sparks a feeling of nostalgia in me. I have always loved Christmas. It is a time of miracles, joy, and family. From the appearance of a new star, a day a night and a day of no darkness, a chorus of angels singing to a group of humble shepherds, to a tiny baby who would one day change the world, Christmas has become the symbol of new hope. It is so precious. I wish I could hold onto the feelings I have this time of year all year long. I want Christmas to come, and yet I don't want it to be over so soon.

I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the life He led, for the example He set. I cannot imagine my life without my Savior, my big brother, my best friend.

A few years ago I wrote a Christmas story for a presentation at a retirement home. It has changed titles a few times over the years, but I like to think the message is one of hope and renewal. It is called A Little Grace . When I wrote it I felt so inspired--it felt like so much more than a story. I feel like it was a gift for my Savior more than anything else. This year I hope my gift to Him can be bigger and more lasting. I hope to make a difference in the way He believes I can. If you need a little hope this season, or a little grace, maybe you'll like the story. Either way, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a joyous and hope filled New Year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"This moment contains all moments" C.S. Lewis

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is such a fabulous thing to celebrate--every moment of our lives is a gift, we choose whether or not they are something we'll cherish or forget. 

It's so interesting how this time of year seems to bring out the best in people.There is a spirit of gratitude and giving that seems to permeate the very air we breathe. I love this season. I love the smells, the sights, the joy, the excitement, the extra time spent with family. I hate the cold, but during this season I can deal with it--come January I'll be ready for a southern escape.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the meaning of the season and trying to find ways to get my family and the amazing young girls I work with to get into the spirit. That spirit of giving, of bringing joy and smiles to someone else.

I wanted to have this post be about you. What are some of your awesome traditions for bringing the spirit of the holidays into your homes and families? What are some of the things you like to do?
What are your favorite parts of Christmas and Thanksgiving? What have been some of your favorite moments?