The true spirit of Christmas

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I find myself contemplating this past year and what it has meant for me personally. It is easy to look back on 2016 and think it was a “bad” year. So many awful stories in the news, and surprising yet troubling events have taken place. It is so easy to get caught up in this feeling of desperation, hopelessness and fear. The media plays a big role in this especially.

But as this year comes to a close, I ask each and every one of you to consider how 2016 may have also been really good for you, what lessons you might have learned, and how any seemingly bad situation has improved your life in ways you never could have previously imagined, compared to this time last year.

For me personally, I feel I have been pushed far out of my comfort zone in some aspects, forced to look at the “bigger picture”, let go of anything that was holding me back, and work on my own self-development. I am slowly learning how to better appreciate my life and the people in it, to truly feel gratitude for all that I am and all that I have, and to actually practice being grateful.

We may “be” grateful, but do we ever take the time to truly feel it? To allow those feelings of immense gratitude for all we have been given flood our hearts and spill over into every area of our lives and our relationships? I never really grasped that concept before this year. I would be happy for good things that happened to me, but the moment they were taken away I would fall into a hole, desperately trying to get back what I had lost, instead of being thankful that I ever experienced them in the first place. I would wonder why, but looking back now I recognize that saying “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can come together”. How true that is, for we never know what is waiting for us just around the corner. Every moment holds within it a blessing of some kind, if only we open our hearts and look for it.

Another, yet equally important lesson I have learned is to practice being more “present” in my life. It has become a norm in the world today to be consumed by the news, social media, and looking constantly to the past or future. But when did we forget to appreciate the present moment? Life is happening NOW. If we allow ourselves to become too distracted by what’s happening in the world or on social media, we might miss out on precious moments that we can never get back.

So no matter what is happening in our lives, we must take the time to truly appreciate the little things. So many people this Christmas are suffering; so many don’t have homes to shield them from the bitter cold, or food to warm their bellies, or families to feel loved, or peace to be able to experience the joys this world has to offer. For all those people whom we wish we could help ease their suffering, take the time this Christmas to appreciate what you have that they can only dream of. Take the time to love your family and friends, to be truly present in the moments you share with them, to treasure that time more than any gift. Facebook will always be there (I’m sure), but the people in our lives won’t. So love them while you still can. Enjoy and appreciate your life while you are on this earth. Time is so very precious.

❤ Josie xoxo

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