The anticipation of Christmas is flowing through our home. Well, this has been happening for the past month of course. Children wake every morning to see the countdown to Christmas. Eyes brighten, smiles widen, and giggles fill the room.
There is something about experiencing Christmas with and through our children. They have such Hope for what is to come.
One of my dearest friends sent me a surprise gift in the mail a couple of weeks ago. While I love ornaments, I especially love this one. The Thrill of Hope. Stop and just say that a few times to yourself and think about what it means. (Some may even be singing it to the tune, like me.) As I hung this ornament on our tree, I placed it front and center, because I wanted the constant reminder of how I felt when I read those words the day I opened it. The Thrill of Hope.
I made a personal decision to not allow stress to take over me this holiday season. While I never plan for that to happen anyway, I often start to fret over the gifts, the traveling, getting everything done, keeping the house clean, making it memorable for the kids, doing everything “just right”. WHY? This past year I chose the word Joy as our word of the year. I have kept it my mission and passion to keep Joy as a focus for our family. (Ok, I didn’t do perfectly, but there was some great growth in that area!) Stress is not Joy! So, I was not going to let stress during the most important time of the year, take me down or take away our Joy!
What a game changer. I can honestly say, I haven’t been stressed. Ok, well maybe when my middle son’s Christmas Eve ornament didn’t arrive when I expected, and the tracking said it wouldn’t come until the 26, and so I made a homemade replica hoping he didn’t mind, annnnnd then it came in the mail today! See, no need for stress. It all worked out. But really, I have really changed my perspective in certain situations, and I’m so thankful God has given me the focus and strength to do so! This has been a remarkably Joyful Christmas season! (And a pretty amazing year, too!)
So back to the anticipation of Christmas. Yesterday and today, my kids have been CR-AZY! Crazy excited, crazy sugared up from treats, crazy from being inside so much, crazy, crazy! As I lay them all down for naps today, I had a few moments to collect my thoughts. The smell of Christmas ham was filling our home, sounds of Christmas movies were playing in the background, lights twinkling on the tree, and there, in the center of the tree, was that ornament. The Thrill of Hope. God humbled me in that very moment and my eyes filled with tears. Oh my, there are so many thrills in the Hope of Jesus. JESUS is the real reason for this season, and what a thrill that is! I started having flashbacks of memories from this past year. Some were making me laugh to myself; others gave me such a peaceful feeling. Some even had me feeling a bit angry, and some had my heart hurting for some of my loved ones experiencing heartache. But right there in that instant, Hope filled my heart. To breathe Him in, and feel His presence, gives such Hope. There is a true spirit of Christmas, and that is what is really filling our home this season.
Sure we are so excited for gifts, I mean, I’m seriously stoked to see these boys open some exciting surprises (daddy too!) I am also pretty excited for our next few days with family, and all the excitement with gift giving, celebrating, and memories being made.
All the while, I can’t help but sit back and take moments to reflect on Christ. God loves us so much, that he gave us His son, as this precious baby, to experience life with us, and then eventually die for us, so that we can be forgiven of our own sins, and spend eternity in heaven. I can’t even contain the emotions that I experience when I take these moments to praise God for this gift. The Thrill of Hope. The Hope in Jesus. THE Gift of a Lifetime.
So today I encourage you, take some time to yourself to breathe Him in. Think about the true Hope that we have in Jesus. I tell you, no matter the storm, the Hope is always there.
Merry Christmas, and may you experience the greatest Hope this season!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16