"Sleep, hugs, kisses, love, friends, family, memories, smiles, laughter and fun.
The best things in life are free."
The countdown to Christmas is on and I am happy to say just little things and some wrapping remain, so I am pleased at where things stand. Every year I try to think creatively and choose a nice variety of gifts for my family that are not only what they would like, but are also memorable as well.
I recall a special memory when I was a child of receiving the most amazing gift of my first and cherished Cabbage Patch doll. It was actually a birthday gift, but one of the most memorable gifts I have ever received. I remember my sweet mom stood in line at Zellers at the crack of dawn braving the “Black Friday” style crowd for the mere “chance” to get one of these dolls who were in extremely short supply that year. Cabbage Patch dolls were what everyone was asking for that year. To get ANY doll, let alone the one your preferred, would be anything short of a miracle at that time . Sadly, my mom left empty handed that day. Knowing how heartbroken I would be, she was sharing her extreme disappointment with her cousin. To my mom’s delight, my cousin just happened to have gotten her hands on two of these high demand dolls and was willing to sell one to my mom. Not only was this an amazing turn of events but it happened to be the exact one I wanted, a bald, baby Cabbage Patch doll with a soother. You can imagine my mom and dad’s joy to give me that doll and the excitement I felt receiving it. Well, what can I say? The rest is history and Raymond Fred and I lived happily ever after!
Yes, I am very fortunate and have received many special gifts through the years. With so much emphasis these days on the gifts we buy at this season, it got me thinking however about the incredible gifts we have that money can't buy. They are precious things or people that we may at times take for granted. I would like to bring them to the forefront at this time to remind us of how fortunate we are. When it comes to gifts that money can't buy as they say in The Sound of Music "these are a few of my favourite things."
~ Special People ~
Cherish your family members and special friends. You honestly do not know how long they will be in your life. It is so easy to become comfortable with those we see on a regular basis that we fail to let them know how much they mean to us. Once they are gone you do not want to have any regrets. My precious mother-in-law Evelyn died in 2020 from Covid 19. With her passing it has left a void that will never be filled. This is our second Christmas without her, and it is still so hard. She is so noticeably absent. Although I miss her so much, I am so grateful that we had a beautiful relationship and I truly have no regrets. I have many special memories of her. She was such a comical, kind and generous soul who loved her family fiercely and was always looking for opportunities to bless others. I was honoured to sing at her funeral and give her a musical tribute. I cherish the memories I have with her and know we will meet again one day.
~ Good Health ~
If you are in good health be so grateful. Good health is never something to take for granted. Take steps to take care of yourself and do what you can to stay healthy. Many people through no fault of their own this holiday season are not so fortunate. My heart rejoices for some, yet is heavy for others. My sister Judy has made an amazing recovery from breast cancer. She went through some very dark times but she fought hard, inspiring so many people along the way and we rejoice with her this Christmas that she is completely cancer-free! My mom however is in need of healing now. I am also aware of many other families who have family members who are battling serious illnesses and are in a need of a miracle for their loved ones. It is so difficult when the illnesses linger on for the people who need healing and the family members. Be a light to those who are in this situation. Reach out to them this Christmas with a loving gesture or ask how you can be a blessing to them. They need to talk about their story and they will be so appreciative for your thoughtfulness and interest in them and their situations.
~ Employment ~
It doesn't take long to realize that without financial income, we would be in a very bad way. We have experienced unemployment in our home and know the stress of living on a very tight budget. Many people are out of work and are dealing with the reality of not knowing if they will be able to pay their bills each month. If you have employment, be grateful. Some of us have dream jobs. Some of us have decent jobs and some of us have what we might deem as “the worst jobs of all.” No matter what category you fall into, know that your job is supporting your family and assisting to meet their many needs. If your job is difficult, dissatisfying, or inappropriate for you, pray for a new opportunity. In the meantime, be thankful for where you are right now because every job provides an environment where we can really learn something and bless others if we are open to it.
~ Precious Memories ~
Memories are the keepsakes of the heart. I have many precious memories of Christmas growing up with special Christmas pageants at the church, Christmas Eve at my Aunt Bev's house and sharing special times with my family. Many of those family have passed on, yet my memories will always live on. Take a stroll down memory lane from time to time and reflect on all the positive you have experienced. It will warm your heart, bring a smile to your face, and remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.
~ A Forgiven Heart ~
The most important gift money can't buy this Christmas is a forgiven heart. Not only is it important to offer and receive forgiveness from each other, but it is vital for each one of us to experience God's forgiveness. Many people feel they must work for God's love. Many struggle with feelings of unworthiness. They feel if they are good enough or try hard enough that maybe, just maybe God will love them and allow them entry into Heaven one day. Christ came as a baby to offer us the free gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins. God wants to give each one of us a clean slate and a fresh start and all we have to do is ask. There is nothing that we could do to make God love us any less or any more. The free gift of a forgiven heart is offered to each one of us and I can't think of a greater time of year than Christmas to experience this life changing gift that money can't buy.
So this Christmas in the midst of all the store bought gifts, look around the room and notice the special people at your table and reflect on all that you have been blessed with that money can't buy. There is so much more to appreciate and counting your blessings is a truly wonderful thing!
Merry Christmas and Until Next Time,
James 1: 17 ( NIV) : Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Little Lesson Learned: Many of the most wonderful gifts we have on a daily basis are absolutely priceless. Let's make a conscious effort to really appreciate them!
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