Christmas or Giftmas?

Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone, and it’s has got me thinking…

When we’re young, Christmas seems to be all about the presents. Conversations were centered around the age old question, “Have you been naughty or nice this year?” Let’s be honest, none of us ever openly claimed our naughtiness throughout the year, so most conversations were also met with an ever growing wish list that consists of more things than we own at that time.

As we grow up our wish lists get shorter because we come to find that what we need cannot be bought, and what we want comes second to spending time with the ones we care about most. For the few things that make it onto the wish list, they are practical and while the excitement behind Christmas is no longer the presents, it is met with a knew kind of excitement. An excitement of appreciation for the people in our lives and the few days we get to spend wth them before heading back to reality.

But despite the positive shift in our mentalities as we get older, I still wonder what presents have to do with Christmas. This is coming from the girl who believed in Santa Clause until she was twelve… yikes!

Christmas, along with every other holiday, has become so commercialized that it is almost difficult to remember why we even celebrate it.

Christmas is a celebration of Christ Jesus the son of God’s birth. So granted, I can kind of understand where the presents come in. Birthdays are a celebration of life and every year we receive presents on our birthdays. The only problem is Christmas isn’t our birthday, it’s His.

Also, the wise men brought gifts when Jesus was born. They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh but each present was not practical, instead they were symbolic. While the Bible does not tell the significance of these gifts, though out history it has shown that these gifts have symbolic meanings.

Gold – is a symbol of divinity and is mentioned throughout the Bible

Frankincense – is a symbol of holiness and righteousness.

Myrrh – symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and affliction.

These gifts were all telling of Jesus’ life in one way or another because the gift of Christ was a symbol of His divinity (gold), his willingness to become a sacrifice (frankincense), and his willingness to suffer greatly and pay the price for our sins (myrrh).

I’m not saying don’t give gifts. Giving gifts increases the excitement around the holiday season and makes us think about others, but I am also not an advocate of not knowing the reason for the season. What we can do is give with the same principles that the wise men did when they gave their gifts to Jesus. They gave gifts with meaning.

I love the Christmas holiday and I love giving, but I also love the reason behind why we celebrate the season more. I  want others to recognize it too and give in such a way that reflects Christ not just gifts.

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Stop Playing the Victim

Overwhelmed, Victim

It’s unfortunate how overwhelmed I get during this time of year, and I am sure I’m not the only one. My days are always a blur. I know that they consist of me waking up, studying, going to practice, studying, barely eating, studying some more, and repeating all of those steps the next day.

The worst part about this time of year isn’t even exams, it’s really just how overwhelmed I get when it comes to managing my time.

If being a student athlete has taught me anything, it is that time management is the key to success and procrastination is not an option. But even with this formula for success I still can’t seem to get a hold of my to-do list, and I’ve always wondered why.

Often I feel sorry for myself, and make excuses by playing the victim saying that things are simply unfair and that I have too much on my plate. But somewhere in the middle of my pity party for myself, I remind myself that at one point, I wanted to have all of these things on my plate.

My friend once said, “You can’t cry about having a lot on your plate when the goal was to eat.”

She was correct! At one point in time I was crying because I felt that I wasn’t doing enough, that I wasn’t pushing myself far enough, and that the opportunities were simply not there. Now that I have what I’d been wishing for, how can I cry about it being too much?

I feel that often we wish our circumstance were different but do not envision the struggles that might come along with our new responsibilities.

My mother used to say, “To whom much is given, much is required”.

Next time you find yourself getting overwhelmed with your long to-do list and load of responsibilities, keep in mind that at one point you wished you had these same opportunities in front of you. Realize that with your responsibilities comes adversity, but with adversity comes growth. I doubt in a year, you want to say that you are the same person you were a year ago, so stop playing the victim and embrace your newfound opportunities!