Thursday, December 24, 2015
I have had my struggles with Christmas, usually because it was so commercialized, and as a kid I thought Santa Claus was the ultimate discriminator, I mean, why was my buddy deserving of the newest slot car track and I was only deserving of a wood burning kit, but I digress. My struggles have greatly dissipated over the years. This was an all too slow transition for my poor wife. I'm so grateful for her patience with me, more on that in a minute.
My transition to loving this time of year has to do with gratitude. When Lora and I started having children, it was a lot of fun to see their faces on Christmas morning, and as our family grew, we watched them join with cousins and friends to perform the Nativity as we read the story of that day from the New Testament, I was so grateful for children and family. As we progressed to having a young adult aged kids, they became more involved with the preparation, and I was grateful for family traditions. When my daughter got married, I was grateful for future blessings and a new son-in-law. Now, I have 4 grandchildren...difficult to write this without a lump in my throat and damp eyes...what a blessing.
I'm grateful for the ability to recognize all of God's blessings in my life. It is so difficult to notice blessings as they come sometimes, for me, I have often looked back at my life's journey and recognized his hand in my life, and I have to repent that I was bitter during many of life's challenges because, it was those challenges that produced some of my greatest blessings and personal development in my life.
My greatest success in this life was having the wisdom to ask Lora Lyn Latimer to be my wife. I know, I know, I know, that her parents had to be so very worried. She was only 19, I had no direction, no real goals, no clue. Yet, as I sat down with her parents and proclaimed my love and devotion to their daughter, her Dad gave us the best advise. He actually gave us lots of advise, but this is what truly stood out and made me take notice; "no matter where you end up, if you can't enjoy the journey, you'll never appreciate your destiny". I haven't done many things right, I've always somewhat struggled to make money, at 52 I'm still defining my career, and I wish I had spent more time teaching my kids some of the life skills I learned the hard way, but there is one thing, through God's guidance, I did right, and that was marrying my best friend, Lora. I have strived to enjoy the journey, even with the struggles and disappointments. I can honestly say that I have and still do enjoy this journey of mine.
I am also grateful for this time of year because I am flawed on so many levels. I am a very religious person, because to me it makes sense. I have had my moments of doubt to be sure, but as I contemplated God, creation, evolution, science, you know the, where did I come from, where am I going, what's out there after this life is over, stuff. My, aha moment came after prayer to know the answers for myself. I earnestly wanted to know, I exercised faith that there might be a divine Father listening and I knelt down and asked Him. I received and answer to my prayer, He spoke to me in a language of spiritual manifestation that was simple and profound. I felt a sense of peace and love within me that I cannot deny. I have felt this many times in my life when I have needed divine direction. I know that we are not alone, and that He does love us and does care.
So, that's why I love this season, it has absolutely nothing to do with getting presents or eating lots of yummy food, decorating the house, singing Christmas carols, rather, I do those things BECAUSE of the Christ Child. He is not an after thought, He is the season.
May we have a wonderful Christmas, no matter what you believe. May we exercise greater tolerance for one another and love for our fellowman. Because, even if you don't believe, it's a great way to live, isn't it?
Merry Christmas, say it Out Loud!