Spending Time With Family & Friends

When I was younger Christmas was about all the excitement evolving around the gifts under the tree.   Back then, my main concern was how I would deal with the disappointment of not getting all the gifts that were on my gift list.   As I recall, I would console myself by the realization that I have a birthday only two weeks after Christmas…so certainly if I didn’t get the gift for Christmas the missing item must have surely gotten bumped to birthday gift status.

Oh how priorities change over the years.   As I recall life has always been more than generous to me.   Even back in the days when my parents were, shall we say, a bit challenged for money they made certain that Christmas was special with the blessings of many gifts under the tree and a special time shared with family.

But over the years I guess it’s a sure sign of aging, but the true meaning of the Christmas season has come into clearer focus for me.   Sure, yesterday in my blog I wrote of the special moment of giving my nephew his first gun…but at Christmastime there is another gift that many people take for granted, yet I think we all need to better appreciate and understand.   It is the gift of sharing one’s time and doing so with close family and friends.

Indeed, my life has gotten more complex over the past few years now that I have a special person in my life.   Actually, to be correct I should say special “people.”   It was about one year ago when I got engaged just before Christmas to a wonderful lady named Roberta.   Roberta also has a very special son named Luke.   Together, in about 10 weeks from now, we will all become a family as we get married and embark on a new life together.

I can honestly say that getting to know Roberta’s family has been nothing short of a wonderful experience.   For me, it is so interesting to be part of creating new memories and traditions as I expand on what Christmas has always meant to me in the past.   Sometimes blending old traditions with new ones is not always easy, but so far things have worked out quite nice for all of us.

Over the years my personal family has down-sized both through death and divorce.   It can be sad, but it also reinforces in your mind how important it is to appreciate what you have before it is gone.   And there is no better time of the year to celebrate that appreciation than at Christmas.   I guess you could say it is one of the last holidays that forces each of us in our busy lives to make time to spend with family and close friends.

Still, I don’t always wear my beliefs on my sleeve for others to see…but I never lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, either.   We learn the story even before we enter school of how Jesus was born…and what a wonderful story it is.   Certainly the true reason why most of us Christians celebrate Christmas is not eclipsed by glitzy store sales promotions or fancy outdoor lights with one household trying to outdo the next.   It is to celebrate the birth of our dear savior, Jesus the Christ our Lord.

For me, if you have good health, close friends who care about you and a bright outlook for the future what more could you possible want for Christmas.

In my life, the next few months and years hold so much promise to be an exciting and wonderful period of time in my life.   Even though Christmas is soon over for yet another year…part of me thinks that for me Christmas marks only the beginning for some exciting and challenging times soon ahead in my life.   Truthfully, I feel blessed to share this Christmas season with the wealth and good blessings of what God has placed in my life.

Here’s hoping that during this Christmas season it has brought you closer to the ones you love and that your life has been filled with many good blessings.   MERRY CHRISTMAS!

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.