As I sit here on Christmas evening, I’ve found myself thinking about what Christmas means to different people. It’s Jesus’s birthday, of course, but the holiday is celebrated in many different ways by people who believe many different things. There’s an overarching “holiday spirit” that infects us, and takes on a variety of forms. I’ve seen Christmas manifest itself in several ways over the last few days.
Christmas is nighttime Embarcadero runs with friends, followed by fries.
Christmas is a Christmas Eve trail run with mom, a beautiful day with some big hills to boot.
Christmas is cinnamon rolls, cookies, waffles, more waffles, more cookies…
Christmas is spending hours setting up what seemed like thousands of paper bags filled with dirt and votive candles two feet apart across two huge corner lots, only to have the end result be completely worth it.
Christmas is time with family.
Even the adopted family that barks.
Christmas is receiving Funfetti cake, pancake mix, a waffle maker, and The Stick for Christmas, and recognizing that your loved ones know you pretty freaking well.
Christmas is watching movies that are definitely Christmas movies, some that are debatable, and others that most definitely are NOT.
But to me, most importantly, Christmas is a time to reflect on the faith that shapes my life that defines my heart, that gives me comfort in times of turmoil, that gives me hope in times of despair.
The holidays have been pretty loaded for me these last few years. In 2008 I was overseas and lonely, away from all I held dear; in 2009 I was home for two weeks after 15 months abroad and in extreme culture shock and confusion; in 2010 I had just returned home after 27 difficult months overseas. The post I wrote last year really shows where I was at that time—grateful.
This holiday season has been hard. Instead of filling consumed by joy and love, I’ve been, to be honest, a bit sad. Loneliness has ruled in my mind over togetherness. Stress has overwhelmed peace. But finally this weekend I’ve been brought back to Earth, to focus on what truly matters instead of getting caught up in everything else.
This week is my one year anniversary of returning home from Africa, one year since going vegetarian, one year since the most recent chapter of my life began. So it’s a little emotionally loaded. But what I pause to reflect on is LOVE. Just love.
I’m looking forward to an exciting new year ahead, to new beginnings and endings. And to remember the spirit of Christmas for what is truly is: a gift of love.
Merry Christmas everyone!
PS. The winner of the coffee giveaway is MCM mama. Send me your address! : )
What does Christmas mean to you?