3 Reasons Why We Should Be Excited For Christmas

3 Reasons Why We Should Be Excited For Christmas

It's not all about the gifts.
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I got through finals week (barely), and Christmas is fast approaching. There are a lot of reasons why I am excited, but I consider three of them to be the most important.

1. Christmas music

I know some people get annoyed, especially when they start to hear Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. I must admit that I am one of those people who starts listening to Christmas music before it’s even December, but it’s because it makes me happy, and reminds me of what we have to celebrate this time of year. We are celebrating the birth of Christ, who was sent to this earth to save us from our sins, and songs like “Away in a Manger,” “Silent Night,” and “O Holy Night” reminds us of this. There’s nothing quite like the feeling I get while holding a candle in church and singing one of these songs with a whole congregation of people. I am filled with warmth and happiness, and most importantly the love of Christ, which is one very good reason to celebrate this time of year.

2. Christmas cookies

Okay, I know this doesn’t sound very important, but it is, especially to me. I love to bake, and more importantly, I love to bake for others. Christmas is the time when I go all out; I make dozens of cookies, all different kinds, and all intricately decorated for Christmas. My favorite are cutout cookies, frosted with royal icing. I sit for hours and decorate cookies, and it is so incredibly relaxing; I like to call it cookie therapy. I love the look on someone’s face when I come to their door with a plate full of cookies that I made myself. Cookies make great gifts, and there’s no better way to show someone you care than taking the time to make them something special.

3. Family

When I was younger, I used to watch those movies where the families would dread seeing each other because they knew there would be drama and unpleasant interactions, and I used to think my family’s not like that! Boy, was I wrong! My family loves to talk crap about each other and it breaks my heart. I love my family very much, and I look forward to seeing them at the holidays, but after being together for an hour, they start saying mean things about whoever is not present.

Recently, my dad told my family that he had some news about one of our extended family members. He said that because of this news, we need to show them love and kindness when we see them. I was little taken aback, and I said to my dad “why should they expect anything less?” They are our family and they deserve that from us. It’s not only our obligation as Christians, but as human beings. One day someone named Ian Simkins came to Judson and spoke in chapel, and the most important thing he said that day was “Loving others does not have anything to do with whether or not they deserve it.” This quote really stuck with me, and I have made it my life motto. I think about it a lot, and try to treat everyone I meet with love and kindness, and I’ll admit it isn’t always easy, but my one wish this Christmas is that my family will learn to do the same.

I wish I had the courage to call them out on their rudeness, or even get up and leave when they start saying things that they shouldn’t, but for now, I’ll just keep on showing them love, and lifting them up in my prayers.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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I Thought I Was Invincible But Then I Tore My ACL

i had to fall to get back up again

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Track has been my favorite hobby since I was in elementary school. Nothing could compare to the wind rustling through my hair as I ran, the sun shining down on me, the feeling of complete bliss and accomplishment as I crossed the finish line. Every spring, I lay in wait for the elementary track meet where I would prove I was the fastest girl in my grade (there was only two of us, so winning didn't really prove anything). Every race was a chance for me to do better–to become better.

High school rolled around and I was still as committed to track as I was when I was eight. The season was going well and I was on my way to do big things. The only thing on my mind was state; I didn't even think about the possibility of injury. The sprint relay came along, and like always, I passed all the competition with alarming speed and grace. My pride swelled with each distant cheer from my teammates and friends. It was just about time to hand off to my second leg when things went horribly wrong. I ran up on my teammate which caused me to step out of my lane. Panicking, I pulled my leg back into my lane and stopped. I heard a loud POP! and I went down in searing pain. My coach and other teammates ran up to me after the race was finished to help me off the track.

My coach couldn't determine what was wrong with me, so I hobbled over to our setup to rest until my next event. I ran the 800 relay with none of my former grace and ease, but I finished and help qualify my team for the area. That's when my life turned upside down. I went from being a regional qualifier to not being able to run in a matter of minutes, and I didn't know how to contain myself. This sparked months of rage and despair which made it hard for others to be around me.

Eventually, I started to realize that my sports career wasn't the only trait I possessed that made me unique. There were so many extracurriculars I was able to invest my time in when I wasn't able to do sports. It took some time, but I realized that my identity doesn't come from the organizations I'm a part of, but the type of person I am. Through my recovery time, I was able to get to know myself and rediscover some old hobbies, like reading. I was also equipped with the knowledge that good things don't come effortlessly. Instead, I have to fight for the things I desire.

The most important lesson I learned from tearing my ACL was this: I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined. My determination to overcome this set back showed me a type of resilience and persistence I never knew I possessed. I am strong, not because of my physical abilities, rather, my mental capabilities. These are the few lessons I hold in my heart as I finish up this year's track season. Events didn't play out the way I imagined but I'm thankful for every opportunity I've had to do what I love.

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