December 1st! Woohoo! I have a love/not-quite-like relationship with the month of December as I've gotten older. I love it - it's Christmastime! I love it - my daughter has a birthday in just a few days! Not-quite-like... shopping! Wrapping! Cleaning! Planning!
Well... it isn't that I don't like to shop generally - well, ok, I don't really like it that much. The really hard part for me is that I am one of those people who really wants the gift to be special, personal, have meaning, etc. I am not one of those that can just buy a gift card and be good. Add to it that my Mom's birthday is Christmas Day, and my daughter has her birthday just 3 weeks before Christmas. Makes for lots of shopping that requires major thought and planning - and at this point in the year, I don't always have the brain cell firing for that much creativity. But I am trying!
I am also trying to "get Christmas feeling" flowing in my heart. I am listening to Christmas music on XM radio, I am sewing on a Christmas quilt, Steve and I began hanging outdoor lights over the weekend, and I am working up to the big "drag out all the decorations and put up the tree" day.
One big difference that has become more noticeable is that we are working to focus more on the true meaning of this special time. That God gave the world the ultimate gift - Jesus - to die for our sins and save us for eternity. God is definitely no slouch in the meaningful gift department! Daily now I find myself looking at things, even the small things, as gifts from above. Gifts I don't deserve, though that is part of the definition of a gift anyway, but gifts for which I am thankful.
How often does something small happen and we just pass it by without offering a prayer of thanksgiving. You found a good parking spot. The store had just one more gallon of the kind of milk you prefer to buy. The doctor's office had an opening the same day you called - at a time that was convenient! You found part of your school curriculum for next year - for a song. A friend you haven't heard from in a while sent an email. You heard a message preached that touched you. Your children cleaned the kitchen without being asked. (Yes - that happened here yesterday!)
All these are reasons to praise God for his bountiful blessings. Each breath I draw is a gift. Each day I have to do laundry, go grocery shopping, sweep up the dog hair.... all are blessings in disguise. We have clothes to wear, I have a washer/dryer that work and we can pay the bills to keep everything running, we have food to eat and can afford to buy more, we have two crazy dogs that we love, that keep us company and love us. I suppose it's all about perspective.
Back to my "not-quite-like" list... if I change my perspective.... hmmm.... I have a home to clean, I have people I love to share Christmas with and a chance to bring them joy, we have the means for some gift giving, I have a brain to use! See! Blessings!
Thank you Lord.