This year, my wife and two youngest daughters put up our Christmas tree. They played Christmas music, drank hot chocolates, and joked and laughed their whole way through it. I sat in the room with them and watched as they hung the same ornaments they’ve been hanging for years, making the same jokes about various decorations that they make year after year. They fell quickly into our holiday rhythm. As I sat with them, I realized that when I look back on our lives, I cannot remember the gifts I have received or the amount of money I spent on each holiday. What I can remember, however, is the way my daughters have laughed with their mother while putting up the tree every year. I remember Christmas Eve services at church and the early mornings we spent together. I don’t remember the gifts, but I remember the moments.   No matter where we have been or what season of life we’ve found ourselves in, my family has come together for Christmas. Me, my wife, and my three daughters have celebrated the Christmas season with traditions and activities that are very dear to us. One of our traditions is to reflect on the year. We can look back and see all that God has done in our lives over the last twelve months. As we have been reflecting on this year, we look back this year with grateful hearts. We have been so blessed! From weddings to new jobs to a fruitful ministry, we have been given so much more than we could ever hope to repay. It has truly been a banner year for our family.   We love Christmas; it really is the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also be the most stressful. When my wife and I were young parents, the pressure to buy the nicest gifts and spend a lot of money was very real. We realized, however, that we needed to shift our focus. The holidays aren’t about gifts, although those can be a lot of fun. The holidays are about being with your loved ones and making memories. Be sure of this, your kids will not remember every gift they receive. They have no idea how much money you spend or the stress you are under. They will, however, remember the moments you invested in them. The memories you make will stay with your loved ones long after gifts have been forgotten.   From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas. We pray blessings over your life in the coming year. We hope you are able to spend this holiday with the people you love. And before Christmas is over, take some time to reflect on your year. Even if it has not gone according to plan, there is still so much to be grateful for. Sit back, drink some hot chocolate, and be grateful for the life that you live. God has given us all so much more than we could ever deserve. Be grateful this holiday season.  


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