It's Happening: The Good Stuff

By Julie Perine on January 01, 2023 from It’s Happening via

It was 7 degrees on Christmas Eve when my granddaughter Della and I struggled to walk against blustering winds to get to my car. We were in the parking lot of Home Depot, each carrying a flowering Christmas amaryllis, and laughing hysterically at the situation.
Those are the things we remember about the holidays, aren’t they? Since early-November, I’ve been decorating, shopping, wrapping, and baking to prepare for the holidays. I loved every minute of it. Then I loved watching everyone open their gifts; the excitement on their faces and in their voices. Like the song says, that’s “the good stuff.”
It’s little arms around your neck, a giggle about a silly thing. It’s seeing aunts, uncles, and cousins you only see a few times a year. It’s the sweet potato casserole and seven-layer cookies; things that for some reason are only made for the holidays.
The gifts are nice, but we all know they aren’t the most important part – or what will be remembered in the years to come. It’s the love and thought behind the gifts. And though we love to look admirably at our finished Christmas décor, it’s really the process that matters.
When I look back on Christmas 2022, I might not remember what was inside my gifts. I will remember backing over the neighbors’ boxed Christmas lights in their driveway. I will remember the dogs finding their stuffed gnome gifts several days early and tearing them to shreds all over our house. I’ll likely remember buying my husband Victoria’s Secret cologne; making a special last-minute trip to the mall only to return home to find I had purchased women’s instead of men’s.
I’ll remember that my youngest son had just gotten engaged; that my grandbabies were at perfect ages for Santa’s visit. I’ll remember piling those little ones into my car to drive around and see the Christmas lights; to be surprised that the youngest could sing “Jingle Bells” by herself.
Christmas is a special time of year, and the cool thing is all the preparation we do is just the backdrop for the little joys that pop up along the way. We can’t keep ourselves too busy or distracted that we miss them. We can’t take the commercialism too seriously. We can’t be so busy seeking perfection that we miss being present.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us the greatest gift; your Son and our Savior, Jesus. And thank you for the connections with our loved ones - past, present, and future. Those who have gone on and those yet to grace our lives are an unbreakable chain of love we can hold onto our entire lives. For that, I am grateful. 
I wish everyone a happy - and present - New Year! 

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