My Gift

It’s difficult to explain and even more so to write about. When you’re 30 and still living alone in a tiny apartment, still chopping away at a challenging career, ever watching friends and loved ones create and build their families, Christmas can – if you let it – lose its luster. When you want to bake cookies and decorate with tiny feet running around, but the only feet you hear are those of the noisy neighbor who likes to stomp around and move furniture at 11pm, decorating for Christmas can seem pointless. Who will see it, anyway?

I almost didn’t put up my Charlie Brown tree. I almost let it all slip through my fingers. I almost gave in and gave up and let it all pass me by.

But a tiny voice inside told me I had a choice. I could choose to give in, or I could choose to fight for joy.  I could take the easy road and let things happen to me, or I could make things happen. I could be a wimp, or I could be brave.

I got out my speakers and turned on the Christmas music. I lit some candles and decided to choose joy. As I opened up my one box of Christmas decorations, I pulled out my little tree and saw the bulbs on it from last year when two little “sistas” came over, baked cookies, and helped me decorate. I saw the ornaments my grandfather made for me last year. I saw the Christmas bags my grandma sewed and the Christmas bulb my friend Kimberly made and the star I bought in Guatemala last year. And I found an ornament given to me two years ago, a simple word: JOY.

Then, a two hour fight for joy later, with the presents under my tree (not wrapped, so no sneaking into my house!), I sat to admire my tiny piece of hope. It was worth it. Joy is always worth it. Hope is always worth it. Regardless of who else sees it, I see it. I know Whose I am and why Christmas matters in the depths of everything we are.

So, Jesus, this year, my gift to You is my choice to live in joy. My gift to You is my choice to celebrate while others denigrate. My gift to You is my choice to live each day one at a time, regardless of whether or not I love my circumstances, because You put hope into each day like a treasure for me to find.

I choose bravery. I choose joy. I choose hope. Because You chose me.

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