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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Year {1 month down, 11 more to go}

{So I wrote this article for my work newsletter, and I thought it was worth sharing. I've made some revisions, and made it more "blog" like <insert more of my personality> and definitely less business like}

Christmas is over {just in case you were confused on that, Christmas ended over a month ago, tragic I know}. By now all the presents should be opened (unless you forgot one or hid it in a place and now can't remember where or you're my little sister and Christmas just kind of flows into your birthday without any real distinction between the start or finish of either holiday). If you have any eggnog leftover from the holidays, it's for sure bad by now (well it was bad to begin with <insert eggnog is disgusting>). And  one would hope that all the ugly sweaters were packed away until next December (sadly from the fashion choices I've seen recently, this is not true).

But with the holidays now behind us, here we are in January, trying to stick to our resolutions and remember to end our dates with 2013. For some, it seemed that this year would never come <insert the Mayans hanging their heads in shame> and for others, it seemed to come upon us all too fast. I myself cannot believe that it is not only 2013 (hello I'm going to be 25 this year...what?!?) but that January will be over in 2 days. The holidays feel like a lifetime ago which makes me sad, since I am someone who thoroughly enjoys them. Though some try to just get through the holiday's, I find myself to be on the Buddy the Elf end of the spectrum, and I relish every minute of it. I love the traditions that come with celebrating Christmas; the gathering around with loved ones, and the overwhelming sense that God is everywhere. Isn't it lovely to walk into a store and hear "O Holy Night" or "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" playing instead of some of the usual crap (I don't typically enjoy the music that most of the world deems as popular or dare I say good).

 Anyways, I get sad when the Christmas lights start coming down, and I'm thankful for the people who leave theirs on till April. January has always been a month that I didn't like very much. The spirit that is created during the holidays seems to go away. And I'm not talking about the manic craze that takes control of some folks and makes going to a department store a nightmare. No, I'm talking about the sense of overwhelming compassion, generosity, and of love. And again it's the overwhelming sense that God is near, that makes me love the holidays, through this is true all year round. He is God Immanuel, He is with us. Yet each year when the Christmas tree is taken down, and weight loss commercials begin to fill my TV, I realize how easy it is to forget that. It's easy to get caught up in my agenda and my schedule. Even though I spend the month of December focusing on the Lord, and the gift that Jesus Christ was and is to our world, January comes and I'm more focused on my New Year's resolution than on Him. I don't want to be the kind of Christian who lets my calendar dictate whether or not my focus is on the Lord. Or whether or not I have a  spirit of compassion, or generosity, or love. I want to be aware of His presence all the time, and I want that awareness to be evident in my actions and in the way I treat others.

I believe one of the reasons it's easier to see God throughout the holiday season, is because so much around us is drawing our attention to the good things in life. Family, friendship, giving, kindness, and love, just to name a few. I realize that it's rather simple, when I focus on the good, I see the good. If I spend my time focusing on the negativity around me, that's what consumes me, and I live out of that negativity. But when I consume myself with the goodness that is all around, than that's what I'm filled with. Scripture is clear about this, Proverbs 23:7 says "For as a man thinks, so he becomes." And Paul told us in Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Traditionally, I am not someone who does New Year's resolutions. But this year I've decided that  even if my nativity scene is packed away, no one is sending me gifts, and my family is far away, I will be the kind of person who is aware of God's presence. And I think the easiest way to do this is to focus on the good in my life. On the first of the year my status on Facebook simply said "In the new year I would like to read more books, craft more projects, and bake/cook more delicious recipes. Pretty much I actually want to do the stuff I pin on Pinterest! Oh and I want to write more." (well here is me writing more, check) That status was all about how I planned on bringing more  of my own personal blend of"goodness" into my life. But beyond doing those things, I've decided that I also want to bring "goodness" into the lives and world around me. So my goal is to do just that in these next 11 months. I'm believing that my simple logic is true. And that  the more I'm aware of His presence, and focus on the good in my life, the more I'll live with the spirit of generosity, compassion, and love <insert the spirit of Christmas that I love oh so much>.

So maybe some of you out there will join me and do the same. And maybe when Christmas rolls around next year, it will be as if that beautiful spirit never left. Now if you also want to join me in the whole leaving the Christmas tree up all year, and just changing the decorations to match the seasons, that would be great too. I mean hello what a waste taking all that time to put up a tree and decorate it. To only leave it up for a month. I say we change this. Are all my procrastinator friends with me or what? Well anyways, I hope y'all enjoyed this blog! Thanks for reading!

{Quick side note, I wrote this article originally over two months ago (yes I wrote it before the holidays were actually over).  I must say it is rather difficult to write an article about something that hasn't happened, but you're writing as if it has. And at the time I had no idea  how pertinent this message would be to my own life right now. It's almost as if God had me write it, because He knew I would need to hear it. I felt like sharing this because it's evidence that God is indeed present in my life, as He is in all of our lives. I just pray that y'all become more aware of that fact throughtout the new year.}

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