Presents, The Present, & THE Present

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Merry Christmas Eve, everybody. I told you I would attempt to put up a blog post before Christmas! So, here I am.

Today, I’ve decided to write about thankfulness.

Now to some of you, this may seem like more of a Thanksgiving topic and less of a Christmas one. But nope, don’t you fret. You’ll see what I’m getting at.

Presents vs. The Present

I love gifts as much as the next person. I would be lying if I said that presents wasn’t one of the things I look forward to most on Christmas. What I tend to forget is that not everyone receives presents at Christmas. And just because I’m so fortunate doesn’t mean that everyone else is.

To me, someone getting a pair of Beats headphones for Christmas seems extreme, because of how I grew up. But to others, me receiving a pair of socks is an extreme.

Realizing this has put things into perspective to me. What if we stopped focusing on the materialistic side of Christmas? Less on the things of the season, and more on the… well, the people.

Today and tomorrow, I challenge you to put down your phone, take out your ear buds, and peel your eyes away from the stack of gifts for a while and really appreciate those around you. Whether it’s just you and your dog, or just you, or you and your family, or you and your friends… take time to revel in the blessing of the present.

There’s something really cool about forgetting about taking that perfect festive Snapchat. Or not caring about what you got as much as you care about watching people open what you bought them. Live in the present and forget about the materialistic presents. Gifts are lovely, like I said. But don’t let them be your main focus.

THE Present

I couldn’t let this blog post go up without talking about the thing I like to focus on at Christmas: the birth of my savior. Most people know the story… Jesus was born through the virgin, Mary, and the 3 wise men brought him some gifts after following a star and an angel told people not to be afraid. Big deal.

It’s easier than ever to hear that story or “Jesus is the reason for the season!” and dismiss it. To Christians (and most people I know in general), those things are fairly common to hear. It goes in one ear and out the next. We’ve all been there.

But, guys. Jesus didn’t stay in that manger. That’s not anywhere near the end of the story! He grew up, and loved others, and healed people, and did so many good things that the high people in the land felt threatened by it. So they crucified him, but Jesus loved us SO MUCH that He did it willingly because He knew that dying on the cross meant saving us ALL from Hell and damnation.

For generations, babies have become Kings. Jesus is the only time a King became a baby.

When you think of Jesus’ birth, don’t just think of a tiny, helpless baby. Think of the most powerful being in the world loving us so much, despite our sin, that He came down as a baby so that He could grow up to save us. Jesus could have easily just (BAM!) appeared on the cross and done the whole thing in a day. But only humans can die, so God made himself 100% human AND 100% God, but He gave up his God powers while on Earth.

How did he perform all those miracles, then, you ask? By the power of the Holy Spirit. Which, by the way, is in you if you have trusted Jesus as your savior. How boss is that?

Enjoy the Little Things

This season, I’ve never been more thankful for my family and friends. Through the past hard times, it’s been clearer than ever who my true friends are. Those who would pray for my family, or give me a hug, or let me vent to them really re-emphasized what it’s like to love others. My family was constantly showing their care and selflessness. And my Savior was holding my hand in the midst of it.

Enjoy the twinkly lights. Enjoy the cookies that may be a little bit burnt, but at least someone took the time to make them. Enjoy every present you receive, because someone saw that and thought, “hey, so-and-so would like this!” Enjoy the cheesy Hallmark movies. Enjoy the fruitcake that you pretend to like. Enjoy the ugly Christmas sweater you get every year. Enjoy the carolers that come to your door to spread some joy. Enjoy it all.

🌌       🌌       🌌

May you all have the merriest of Christmases (or Hanukkahs or Kwanzaas or anything else) and a New Year full of joy. I’ll see you all in 2017!

Blessings! Lauren Joy

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