JB_72Our first Christmas in Charlottesville, and our adult kids and their significant others were celebrating in other places with other people.

The morning began with a twinge of melancholy for the exuberance of Christmas past. It would be a quiet day, just the two of us, for the most part. We had no plans other than seeing a movie. It seemed like it was shaping up to be like any other day—and that made me sad.

But then I remembered this little video. If you haven’t seen it, watch it now.  Or watch it again. I bet you a cupcake that afterward you will feel more grateful for what you DO have than sad for what you DON”T have!

OK, it may not have worked for you, but it did for me. Just thinking of her pure delight at a simple piece of fruit is a lesson on so many levels. (Too many to explore as I write this on New Year’s Eve and still watch the ball drop in Times Square.)

Then I remembered our own genetic ball of positivity—our firstborn. All he asked Santa for that year was a Yo-Yo. Of course, Santa was far more generous but on Christmas morning his eyes went immediately to that one small gift under the tree and he literally crowed with delight, “A Yo-Yo ball! I KNEW he could do it!” (“he” being Santa.)

Between the memory of our son’s delight at the “yo-yo ball” and this little girl’s joy over a banana, I realized I could choose melancholy or embrace a slower, quieter Christmas.

Being grateful for “what is,” rather than focusing and being sad over “what isn’t” turned my day around.  

Our first Christmas in Charlottesville turned out to be really wonderful. And in the days since, I have filled many pages of my journal recounting all of the “good gifts” we have received since our move. God has been very good—and like our son felt about Santa—I KNEW He could do it!

My prayer for all of us in the New Year is that we choose to focus on and remember:

“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. Philippians 4:8

Feed the good on a steady diet of God’s good gifts—His word, His people and Himself—and starve the firehose of negativity in the world by cutting out more of the toxic (but sometimes tasty) tidbits we read or watch or listen to.

May you experience a New Year full of banana and yo-yo ball blessings!


Jesus’ Birthday Cake Food Fight

Rooted In Truth Scriptures: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 16-18 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6  …for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  Philippians 2:14-16 “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. Philippians 4:8

Growing In Love Practical Application: Focus on “what is,” NOT on “what isn’t.” Read the scriptures above and recount every good gift you have been given. Reach out if you are starting to feel sorry for yourself. First to God. Tell Him how you are feeling and ask him to point you in the right direction and help you out of enemy camp. Then let someone of faith know you are struggling. (People aren’t mind-readers; they really want to help once they know there is a need.) Or take the initiative to invite someone to share a meal or to meet up for coffee or to explore a new place. There’s always someone in greater need of friendship or companionship than you. Find them! Don’t wait for someone to meet your needs, go and meet someone else’s. Turn around the trajectory of a sad or sour attitude by choosing to please God rather than indulge your negative outlook: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

OR: Make a playlist of upbeat music that lifts your spirits—then turn up the volume! Here are a few to get you started. Dancing is optional :)