Finding Joy and Happiness Through Christmas

In my efforts to stay ahead of the game I’m back at it trying to keep up with the writing. Is it just me or did the Christmas season this year seem to really creep up on us? Today we have the Christmas music on in our house, as we busily work away decorating and putting up the tree. This has to be my favorite time of the year by far! When our kids finish school for the break we pack ourselves up and move out to our cottage at the lake. Christmas for us is all about spending time with our family. Its also a time to just slow the pace down and take care of myself.
There are so many “great” memories associated with this season for me both old and new. Everything from different family traditions to the amazing smells that fill our houses. I think to some degree we all turn into kids again at Christmas. We can’t wait to watch the classics like “Rudolph” or “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” with the family. It seems like just yesterday that I was listening to the radio reports of the Santa Tracker as we anticipated his arrival from the North Pole! There’s just something so crazy special about the build up leading up to Christmas morning whether your a child or not. 
All of these memories with family that we are creating both past and present, help in a season that can sometimes be very difficult to get through. Most people don’t understand the affect that chronic illness has on a person around this time of the year. Pain levels increase and mental health can become a struggle creating challenges that individuals have to work themselves through. Sometimes I think those challenges that we face take center stage, and we forget about all the good things we still have in our lives. Family and all those special moments we spend together at Christmas are at the core of all that!                    
One Christmas that sticks out in particular involves my grandmother and a flaming roast. I was too young at the time to remember all the details but as story goes she was carrying Christmas dinner to the table which involved flaming brandy. She was getting older and so she wasn’t as steady anymore. As she walked to the table the tray tilted, causing flaming brandy to drip off onto the carpet. What I understand was that there was a trail of burn marks left behind what could have turned out to be much more serious. It seems like every year without fail, the story about my grandmother almost torching the house comes up!
Not all of the memories are as crazy as that one though. It was the simple things like having breakfast together as a family Christmas morning.  Dad and one of my sisters would have a contest every year as to who could drag breakfast out the longest. Dad would take an hour sipping away at his coffee and my sister would take the same amount of time to eat a sausage or whatever the food of choice was.The rest of us would sit there waiting impatiently to get to the presents. Even something like having those Christmas crackers with the crazy little hats that you would wear at dinner were a must at our house. Why? Because it was a tradition and it wasn’t Christmas without them on the table. 
As an adult I can’t help but laugh thinking about the good times spent over the holidays with my wife’s family. We would awake to my father in-law slowly turning up the song “White Christmas” at the crack of dawn! Every so often he would turn it up until we couldn’t take it anymore! The list of goes on and on but there are two common denominators with all of these great moments. They involve family and that they bring a smile to my face time and time again. Without a doubt things are a bit different these days but it doesn’t mean that everything about the Christmas season has to be bad.
The other thing I want you to think about is why we celebrate Christmas? The whole reason that we celebrate at this time of the year is because of the birth of Jesus! We get to remember the one gift that we so seriously need to be thankful for. Without Him I’m not the person I am today.   
So I encourage you to look at things with a different perspective. One that focuses on the positive and the good things that surround you! 
         

 
 
 
 

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