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Kathy's Faith Walk

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Choose joy for the holidays

The Holiday Season is here and I am thrilled with the arrival! I have enjoyed watching the leaves turn and the cooler breezes blow though my home. Harvesting tomatoes from my own garden and making fruit jams was lovely. I canned peaches, processed corn and dug the spuds, and I even grew some wheat to maturity! I have gone on more walks with my dog, and my horse, than ever. I have lived summer fully and I have spent more time thinking about how I want to approach these wonderful blessed holidays. This too is part of my personal Faith Walk.

By now we have all learned that allowing ourselves to be impacted by the commercialization of these special days has done us no favors. In contrast I discovered that, in fact, there IS no stress at the holidays if I do a few simple things. 

I decide when to do my holiday shopping. I do it all year!

 I completely ignore those “------ shopping days until Christmas” charts. They are intended to stress me into spending without thinking which I refuse to do.

I buy the ingredients when they go on sale but I bake cookies when the mood hits me and I play all the old Christmas Crooner songs while doing so. It absolutely creates an atmosphere that my daughters are excited to be a part of. No more cranky Mom! Baking holiday cookies should be fun and in our home, it is.

I spend an entire day looking for, and securing, a Christmas tree from the forest. It takes time, requires exposure to fresh air and the elements, and often prayer is involved! This year there will be a festive dinner, fudge, and a movie to wrap up the day.

I celebrate the eight days of Hannukah as well as the days surrounding Christmas. Last fall I began choosing the gifts I would give to each of my family members over the eight days. That was 32 gifts and it was a blast! The secret? The gifts were small, and formed around personal things I know about my family. Like chocolate or Mike and Ikes; fishing lures or an emergency blanket. Body warmers and scarf/glove sets from the dollar store made their debut and it was joy to see their faces when I presented them. Some I delivered at dinner. Some were delivered to a workplace and some went out with lunches. It was pure joy I tell you! On Christmas there were no big gifts. It was just a yummy breakfast, movies, napping, more yummy food, and games with family at the end of the day.

I only have family dinners with nice people. I used to put up with the family problem children, the ones who had me holding my breath all evening in fear they would say or do something to ruin the tightrope of an affair I was already walking. No more. The crazy making days are gone and good riddance. I still love the people but their lack of joy is no longer allowed to impact my life. The joy of the season, the joy we see represented in those glistening holiday cards has been returned to my life. 

Though I may not actually have a horse and sleigh, it would fit right into my day if one came along and away we would all go at the drop of a hat! My turkey is always perfect because Thanksgiving isn’t about the turkey at all. It’s about that incredible group of people eating it and all the joy they bring to the table. The wine flows, the food is spectacular, the laughter is loud, and the joy is boundless. And lest I forget, let me say in absolute seriousness that NONE of this could have been possible in my life without the incredible love and strength of Christ flowing through me. He makes choosing to have joy, regardless of my circumstances, possible. And He is truly the Reason for the Season. So, choose to have joy. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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Author info

Kathy Osborne Kathy Osborne is the editor of the Co Op Country Store's newspaper, the Co Op Round-Up. In her spare time she checks in on her three grown children, or listens to her husband play music.

Tagged as:

faith, Family, Christmas, holidays, joy, celebrations

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