Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. Any one of my friends can attest to that. I listen to Christmas music 24/7, no matter the time of year. I just love a good cup of strong, hot coffee and Bing Crosby playing in the background… or maybe even Christmas jazz or piano playing softly. I even had a vintage record player and Christmas vinyl records on my Christmas list this year (HINT HINT… haha!).
But with all that has happened this year, I feel as if Christmas has been set aside almost… or at least forgotten about. Just as a synopsis of my life the past few months, I went back to work in July at a job that I absolutely love and pour myself into. At the beginning of August, I returned to college full-time for my last semester (hooray for senior year!), and Mitchell proposed to me at the end of that same month.
We began wedding planning just a few minutes after I had the ring (can ya tell we were excited?!). In October, we realized that due to Mitchell’s work schedule, the wedding would have to be in December instead of June of next year. The wedding planning kicked into overdrive, and shortly after, it was also time to apply for a job.
In November, we focused on packing all of my belongings, loading them into a u-haul, and moving them a little over a month before I would move myself. Normally, this wouldn’t be too problematic or too overly-stressful, but the move was 14 hours away.
Basically, I’ve been living out of a bag for a month. And now that December is here, we are full-blown wedding planning.
The craziness and busyness of current life has caused me to take a step back and reflect.
What really matters this time of year?
As I began to reflect, I realized that “stuff” does not matter (cliche-huh?).
I remember that, when I was packing up my belongings, I felt a sense of loss… especially when Mitchell left my driveway. I went back into an empty room and just stared at the bare walls and the bare closet, and I literally felt a loss and grief over… stuff.
I hate to even type these words because I know that people around the world are suffering. They have no running water or no food, and disease is rampant in their country. I see the poverty of some of my former students, and I knew in that moment in my room that I should have felt immensely blessed… but I didn’t.
As God does, He uses situations in our lives to draw us closer to Him and to teach us life lessons. You know the most recent life lesson?
I have survived just fine with two weeks’ worth of clothes, living out of a duffel bag. I have survived just fine without pictures and canvases decorating the walls.
I don’t even notice, now, the “loss” of my stuff (which hasn’t really been lost either–it’s just in a different place! First world diva, right here!)
As I move to a new state and start a new job and begin married life with my soon-to-be-husband, do you know what I will remember most?
Not the material “stuff” but the intangible stuff.
I will remember all of the time spent with my family, all of the laughs and sweet memories we shared, the stories we’ve swapped, the special times that we cooked together in our kitchen, the hugs that were given, the uplifting and encouraging words that were spoken. I will remember going to pick out our Christmas tree as a family and decorating it with my nephew… seeing the wonder in his eyes as a toddler experiences the joy of the season.
My Christmas list has grown shorter and shorter over the years, as materialism has faded out of my life…. as I’ve realized what should be most important. But this year, the list has been cut down even further.
I just want one thing–time.
I can’t get the time of the past back… time with my grandparents who have now passed away… time with family, friends, and other loved ones that will remain in my home state as I leave… but I can change my outlook for the present and the future. I can put the phone down, pry my eyes away from the screen, and connect with those around me.
Because “stuff” will always be there, but our loved ones won’t.
I don’t want to remember the glow of the screen. I want to remember the glow on my loved ones faces. What I really want this year is to make the maximum use of my time with those that God has blessed me with.
So, my challenge for myself for the rest of this holiday season and this upcoming year is to put the phone down and live.
We only have one life, and time passes by too quickly to spend our precious moments held captive by the screen.
So, let’s put the phone down (yes–the both of us–even as we read this post). Let’s look up into the eyes of our loved ones, and let’s enjoy our time before we have no time left.
Much love and Merry Christmas,