What if this was your last Christmas?

Merry-Christmas-Status-For-Facebook

Can you believe another year is about to close?  It feels like I simply blinked and it was December again! How about you? However, if I take a little time to reflect over the year I realize that within that crazy, busy year there have been some monumental experiences that should not be overlooked; there were so many learning opportunities for me.

One of the biggest “stand out” experiences for me was, unfortunately, a horrific car accident in which my husband and I walked out with our lives and we are beyond grateful.   This unfortunate experience has given me many moments of reflection as I think about the brevity of life; it goes by so fast and sometimes it is stolen from us.

Our car accident has caused me to take a deeper look at my passions, my professional work, my personal life, my meaningful relationships, as well as my physical & emotional health. As I stepped out of the truck that day, badly shaken, my first thought was an overwhelming gratefulness that our lives had been spared but following that I experienced a very clear picture of what really matters in my life~ people.

As you walk through the holidays, how can you navigate the season so that the busyness does not steal from your connection with others? How can you slow the pace in order to share tender moments along the way? Christmas traditions can be so fun, baking and office parties can be invigorating; but taking the time to be certain that those you love know that they matter is really at the heart of Christmas.

What’s tugging at your heart this year? Is there a relationship that needs encouragement? A single mom struggling that needs your touch? Does your spouse need the festivities to slow down so that the two of you can remember what great friends you are; or perhaps work towards being again?

Our unexpected accident has only heightened my awareness that every day is a precious gift!  Truly, the 2016 Christmas season could have been our last! Every day is, indeed, a gift! Instead of chocolate indulge deeply in the relationships that surround and bless your life and in doing so you will have a very Merry Christmas.

This Christmas….

 

random-acts-of-kindness

Sitting in my living room looking out at the blustery snow storm outside, I am pondering what Christmas is like for you this year.  Each year the “feel” of the season may be markedly different from the last.  I have a dear friend who, last year, grieved her inability to carry a child; this year she is in her first trimester of a stable pregnancy.  I have a colleague who is walking through the first Christmas without her spouse by her side.  I have a client who is reveling in the birth of her first grandchild and yet another who just found out that she will no longer have her job in 2016.

The “feel” of the holidays can ebb and flow against the filter of what’s presently taking place in our lives. We all want to be sensitive to others while also being grateful enough to celebrate the joys in our lives as well.  This can be a fine balance that I have not mastered but attempt to be mindful of.  Five years ago was a “blue” Christmas for me as our family was walking through the pain of a dramatic loss in our family.  I don’t think I was resentful of the joys others were celebrating, I just didn’t have the enthusiasm to celebrate that year, I understand the challenge.

What I have learned over the years is that there is always elements of our lives we can be grateful for–some unchangeable areas where our gratefulness can be expressed:

  1.  We have an amazing God who loves us, forgives us, gives us grace, and watches over our lives every single day!
  2. We live in America.  We are not a perfect nation and have much to learn but as of today, we are free to worship, to work, and to travel freely.
  3. We all have friends.  Some years we may not have as many friends as we’d like but if we were honest, we all have one or two dear people who love us and this is a real gift!
  4. If we are breathing and our heart is beating, we still have life within us and the opportunity to love and impact the lives of others around us.

I don’t know what your holiday filter is for you this year but it is my prayer that you will take some time to ponder, even list, the good things in your life as you navigate Christmas Day.  May you begin a New Year with a fresh perspective, renewed hope, and a grateful heart.

Merry Christmas to you all. 🙂