The wonder and excitement in his little eyes was magical. I’ve taken him down the Avenue three times already. Three times to see my favorite sparkling Christmas decoration that our city puts up. Three times in the mere week since the decorations began to slowly appear.

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I can’t wait for this season.

I love lights. I love people out and about. I love the expectation in the air. I love the sense of everyone in this together. I love the excuse to bake to my hearts content. I love push to slow down. Yes.

Each Christmas season I feel a push to slow down.

This season to so many is a season of speeding up…of rushing and hurrying and doing. But to me it’s always been a season of slowing down in the midst of rush.

It’s a season of slowing your mind and quieting your heart to bask in the awe and wonder of the season and the weight and glory of God with us.

It’s been a long and wonderful year of motherhood. But also, a long year of struggling to do just that. Struggling to slow my mind and quiet my heart.

I need the push of this season to slow down and enjoy my life. I’m working to get back to that place of joy and gratitude by starting with thanks. I’ve been listening Ann Voskamp’s book ‘1000 Gifts’ and oh, is it ever what my heart needs…again. Three years later and I’m realizing just how quickly my heart forgets lessons learned.

As I walked, pushing James in the little umbrella stroller, admiring the Christmas decorations and watching the people walking by, these words played into my headphones.

“I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks.” Ann Voskamp

I’ve felt so much weight on my soul these past months. Weight of suffering and injustice and pain of the world. Weight that I know is far lighter than the weight of those living under the crush of these sorrows. And I’ve wondered if I even should allow myself to be happy or thankful for all I have been given, when others are living stripped so bare.

“I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks.” Ann Voskamp

Balm to my questioning soul.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

Yes, we mourn with those who mourn, but we also recognize and give thanks for every good gift God gives, no matter how small the gift. Because when we refuse to live thankful, we trivialize the brokenness in this world. We minimize pain by refusing to recognize good for what it truly is, a gift from God’s hand.

We can and should weep with those who weep, but if we do not also rejoice with those who rejoice, rejoicing in who God is and in His goodness to us, we will never fully bring Him the glory we were intended to.

This moment tonight, my little boy’s eyes catching the sparkle of the Christmas lights, and the many precious moments I hope will come this holiday season, I want to receive them fully aware and fully thankful and fully joyful.

I want to receive the moments that are given me fully awake to the gift from God that they are.

I don’t want to live blind and rushed and anxious through my life. And what better time to start this journey than today? What better season than Christmas, when the reminders to receive joy and give thanks are literally written on million napkins and t-shirts and coffee mugs and billboards everywhere I look.

My mantra is becoming…

Give thanks. Receive joy. Fully awake.

Will you join me?

Be blessed

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