Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas

   With my brother newly married in September, my mom decided that it was time for a Christmas family tradition of our own. So, we started planning. Now, my mom's family all lives in the area, and we all celebrate Christmas together on Christmas eve (due to the fact we are Scandinavia). My brother's in-laws' celebrate Christmas day, all day. So, when were we going to get together without conflicting with schedules? We decided on January 1st. So, for the first time in my life, while others were waking up early on Christmas day, I got to sleep in!
  After the hub of Christmas day was over, everyone was looking forward to the New Year. "What are you doing for New year's eve?", "Are you making any New Year's resolutions this year?", "What are your plans for this coming year?" These are the questions everyone was asking. Some of these questions bother me. Why do we wait till the new year to make resolutions? Why is it expected that we need to change now? Now, these aren't bad things; to want to change for the better. But why now? Why is it not our constant goal, every day. Do we forget that every day, is a new day? So, I challenge you. This year, and every year from now on, give up New Year's resolutions, and replace them with New Day resolutions.
  Now, for New Year's eve, I went to a friends house for a party. There were about two dozen of us, some of my good friends. We played games, ate snacks, watched a movie, counted down till the new year... twice, had some laughs and then I went home. Woo-hoo! What better way to start a new year, then by having fun with people I care about.
  Now, yesterday was the first, my families Christmas day. It started out with a bit of cleaning, cooking and setting up while we waited for my brother and sister in-law to get here. They finally got here a little after 2, then the fun began. We started out by opening up, not our stockings, but rather our very own Christmas hats (which we all had to wear later). We had a few little trinkets in there, a Pez dispenser, a chocolate Santa, a miniature lint roller and a small toy that my brothers and I all played with when we were little. After that it was on to games, every time you won a game, you  got a prize. First prize you got was a store gift card, the next was a food gift card, then after that you could win as many small (less that $5) prizes you wanted till they were all gone. We played Stick the Sticker to the Target, Nerts, Set, Monkey Ball Flight, Would You Rather, Boggle, Take Two, Pass the Pigs, and several other small games. Everyone had fun, and won prizes. A midst all the games we played, we took funny pictures, and ate food. After all the fun we had, we all sat around the living room while my dad read the story of Christ's birth in Luke. It is refreshing to take time to remember and reflect on Christ's birth, the true reason for this Holiday, although it is celebrated all year long.   It was an enjoyable day, full of family, laughter, fun and new memories. Something that I feel will be a great family tradition. Spending this day with my wonderful family, just reminds me of how blessed I am, no matter what I may be going through.
  As I look over this last year, I see just how much I have to be thankful for. And as I look forward to this year, I already see some rough patches and curves in my path, but I am excited anyways. To see what ways God is going to grow me, to see what surprises He has in store, and to see what awesome things He is going to do through me. Praised be the Lord for this new year!
  I suppose if I had a moral to go with this story, it would be this: Thank the Lord for each new day, and live it for His glory. Thank and bless Him for what He has done, and pray that He will prepare you for what He will do. Don't miss those small moments and things to be thankful for, because God didn't miss the chance to give them to you. Remember what is truly important, and think/act accordingly.
  May God bless you all, like He has blessed me. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all.

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