Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Gift of Christmas

"May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, 
so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

I am now back in Arizona from being home for the holidays
For one week I was surrounded by family and friends
My heart was filled with nostalgia of old Christmas memories
Laughter of my nephews filled the rooms

I was the only child staying at my parents house this holiday
My sister has her family in Enumclaw
Both my brothers have moved out now
It was just me and my parents

Though I am (cough) 30, I cherished this time to just be their daughter again
My parents even waited to get our tree until I arrived so I could help decorate
A tradition I always enjoy

Coming home for the holidays is a new experience for me
I came home last year from Arizona but I stayed two months through all the holidays
This year I was only home for a week

If I am honest, I was a little anxious how I would handle the emotions of being home and the holidays

 But before I left one of my friends gave me some of the best advice
She said, "Put your phone down and be present with the people you are with. Facebook and Instagram and all of that will still be there. Even when you feel like you are sitting around, look around and think about amazing things going on around you like your nephews laughter. Even in the car rides. You don't realize what you are missing."

I wasn't perfect the whole week being off my phone, but I tried hard
And for the first time since moving away and coming home I truly felt present

I gave myself permission to JUST BE this Christmas 

I gave myself permission to feel the nostalgia of the season
... to be joyful
...to be still and listen to the sounds of Christmas carols and laughter of my nephews
... to stop and smell the balsam & cedar candles and my moms cooking
... to let go of my past failures and mistakes of the year
...to let go of the responsibilities of the future

I gave myself permission to find peace in the knowing my Savior is coming to clean up this beautiful mess of mine

Because through all the hustle and bustle

Through the hard and the messy
I almost forgot the most powerful message of the season
One that got lost in my anxiety and the pressure I put on myself

The Christmas message of Hope, Joy and Peace

JOY that my future is already secured
PEACE that my future will be better than imagined
HOPE that my Savior is coming and will come again

Yup, Jesus is truly the reason for the season

And the best part?
Because of Jesus, we can receive HOPE, JOY and PEACE, the gift of Christmas, all year

This past year I have opened myself up to letting Jesus take over and He has taken me on an adventure that excites me more everyday
The gift of Christmas

The past year (especially the last couple months) Jesus has romanced my soul into an intimacy I have never known
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has placed dreams and passions that have set my heart on fire 
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has given me endless amounts of Grace from my mistakes
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has shown Mercy in situations I labeled impossible
The Gift of Christmas

The past year Jesus has given me friends and family that have blessed me more than I deserve 
The Gift of Christmas 

Jesus has given me Salvation
The Gift of Christmas 

Jesus is... 
The gift of salvation 
The gift of Grace 
The gift of Love 
The gift of Blessings 
The gift of Peace 
The gift of Favor 
We can receive them every single day of the year 

As you take down your last bit of christmas decorations
As you begin to reschedule your work and school schedule 
As you begin to write your resolutions and To Do lists.. 

Peace is not ultimately a place
Peace is the ultimate Person

The gift of Christmas is Jesus
You don't have to wait until next christmas to receive 
Receive it today and everyday 
The magic of Christmas truly lives in our hearts 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

My sister and I
Just the best grandpa and his grandkids and great grandkids!

Grandpa and his girls

My beautiful cousin Rylee and my brothers baby boy

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I would love to hear how you are enjoying your journey!