Dear Honey Run Friends,
I am grateful! We just celebrated Thanksgiving, and we are in the Advent season heading towards Christmas. I am filled with gratitude. I am grateful that I have a loving family, good friends, a good job, good health, all of my daily needs like food, water, and shelter are more than met, and I am grateful that I will be celebrating my Savior’s birth once again in a few weeks.
Christmas was not a favorite holiday of mine growing up. I was often disappointed because a neighbor would get a “better” gift than me, and my attitude about the entire holiday was self-centered on my happiness, my presents, me, me, me. It wasn’t until my early twenties when I decided to remove the gift aspect of Christmas that I finally started to understand and appreciate the reason for the season.
I always enjoyed Thanksgiving as a child – the food, the family gathering, and the fellowship. There was no pressure to the holiday; it was just a joyful celebration around the dinner table. So I wondered why Christmas had such a different experience for me. Then it dawned on me, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday so why am I receiving gifts? This was a magical revelation for me.
I announced to my family not to buy me anything, and I was not going to be purchasing anything for anyone on Christmas. This was the beginning of my love for Christmas. I was now free to celebrate the birth of my Savior, free to reflect during this season when so many are running around to all the stores to complete their list, free to enjoy my family and friends without the interference of gifts. I was free to recognize that I receive the greatest gift every Christmas, the reuniting with my God.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with giving gifts at Christmas. Most of you are more spiritually mature than I am and are able to recognize that the gifts are our way of showing others the ultimate gift that God gave to each of us through Jesus. I wasn’t able to see that with the distractions of the season. But now, twenty years into this experiment, I cherish the Advent and Christmas Season.
The dark days and cool temperatures cause me to retreat inside and meditate. It is during these mediations that I see the gifts that I am given every day. I see the fact that I have never once missed a meal, longed for clean water, or lacked any basic need. I am grateful. I meditate on the fact that I have been blessed to not know war or experience being a displaced person. I am grateful. I do not know what it is like to live in slavery or be physically abused. I am grateful. I know and receive love from my family and friends. I am grateful. I could go on and on for days about all that I am grateful for, but I won’t bore you.
I pray that this Christmas season brings you joy and gratitude. I pray that you are able to take some time and make your gratitude list. No matter the loss, pain, suffering, or problem you are facing, know that Christmas day is coming, and God is sending you the only gift you will ever need.
Merry Christmas from your grateful Innkeeper,