Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Time is Here.

I've never been the sharpest tool in the shed much less one to understand a lot of the things life wants to throw at me. My mind is blown when trying to comprehend how Jesus came to this earth as an infant and was white as snow, He was perfect in every way. Not only that but He was placed in a manger, not some fancy decked out crib from Baby Depot. This is the same Jesus that had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). This is the same Jesus that was beaten and bruised and mistreated throughout His entire life. The same Jesus that would hang out with the lowest of the low and showed compassion to everyone He encountered. The same Jesus that died for me. It's difficult for me to understand such a crazy concept still to this day. That's because God will never fit in our little box of logic. He is Holy and so much Bigger. One thing I do know is that Jesus is the greatest thing that has ever entered into my life.

It's easy to say you won't get carried away this year during the Christmas season. That you won't buy as many gifts, wake up dreadfully early to get a big sale the day after Thanksgiving, worry if the tree isn't set up the way you like it, or let the idea of gifts consume you. But, do we truly choose not to cling to such things? I can tell you first hand that Christmas is certainly not all about getting gifts and spending lots of money and you fill in the blank_. Though all of that is good, fun, and lovely...if you didn't receive a single gift or have the finances to buy everyone and their mommas a present; would that ruin your day all together? Don't get me wrong that'd suck a whole lot and it's not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of having a "Holly Jolly Christmas," but never the less life will still go on. What if there were no presents under the tree? What if there was no tree at all? No "Holiday greetings and happy meetings"...? It might seem as if the world will come to an end at this point but it won't. I used to think so but time and time again I'm reminded that's not the case.

As I've sat here at my house alone for the majority of this Christmas day, I can't help but think a lot about a lot of things. I randomly decided to google the definition of "family."
Of course, most of the definitions define family as "a group of people who are related by blood."
However, there were a few definitions that said something different such as "a group of people who support each other and love one another." and so on.

"In today’s society most people consider family to be just blood relations but in reality it is the bonds you share with those you care for the most.  Family is a completely necessary part of anyone’s life.  Your family helps you through the tough times and provides the needed support to get through life.  Family cares about what happens to you, are always there for you, and above all, loves you. "

Mmmm....Can I get an Amen?!? This brought so much comfort to my heart. If it were strictly that of blood relations, I don't have much of a family at all the way I look at it. But if it's true that family is far more than that...well I have the largest family there is. 
Then I begin to think of what the phrase "blood related" means to me. 
Through the blood of Christ I belong to a family of believers all across the world. 
Many I've already had the blessing of meeting and many I will meet one day. 
I often say that "Music is within my blood." If so, I know of many who can relate that are considered to be family as well.

I would be foolish to ever say I don't have a family, because I most certainly do. 
What I consider to be family may not be your common definition found in wikipedia, but I care the most about a lot of folks and I come to find that a lot of folks care about me. 
I may not join family during the holidays but I know they are there for me. When I need support I can find it. When I need encouragement and affirmation, it can be a text away. Though certain situations can make me feel unloved, I know deep down I am loved and God is to be glorified rather than circumstances.  Above all it is Christ Who strengthens me. To have a loving Family on top of that, what better gift could you possibly ask for during Christmas time? 

Though things never seem to go as planned and though being alone while everyone else is celebrating can be a bummer...I am thankful for this special day the Lord has made. 
I'm thankful for time to sit still, relax, and REST. True Rest in the Lord is like no other. I'm thankful for time to reflect and take Joy in the God of my salvation. I'm thankful for those who sacrifice their traditional family settings to include a kid who has no place to go. I'm thankful for turkey and some burnt pecan pie. I'm thankful for coffee and a delectable Christmas tree cake. I'm thankful for those serving all across the country right now as I type. I'm thankful for the amazing time spent in Asia this time last year. Oh how I miss it so and wish I were there again at this very moment. I'm thankful for my Mammaw and another year I could spend with her cute lil ole self. I'm thankful for Everything God has chosen to bestow and bless me with. I am thankful for what the word "family" looks like in my life.

It all goes back to Christ in the end. The birth, crucifixion  and resurrection of Jesus will forever be the greatest gift there ever was, is, and will be. Because He came to die for the sins of man, Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Jesus is the reason I'm still alive today and can live life abundantly. It's my responsibility to be reminded of that. Though it may not seem to be "traditional" or provide that "home sweet home" kind of feeling, this day is to be cherished and that is something I am certain of. While I was in Asia, my teammates and I were told that we would never look at Christmas the same way again once we return to the states. I don't think I've ever found a statement to be so true before. I've discovered that I am my happiest when I am able to serve others. After serving in other countries to the fullest, especially during Christmas, it's easy to return home and feel as if I'm never truly serving others unless I'm on a trip far away. But after staying in town this December I see more and more how God calls me to go and serve everywhere. Even in Monroe, LA of all places. So though it's not a hard task to loose site of the true meaning of Christmas, I think I'm finally beginning to see what it's all about. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Here's to Many More.

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