Christmas - It's not in the gifts

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. I love going and cutting our own tree, decorating it with the family with Christmas music playing, the family get-togethers and best of all the buying of presents for others.

This year has been a struggle for me to get in the Christmas spirit. After losing my job earlier in the year, finances have been tight. It was a toss up whether there would even be a Christmas this year in our household. Last week, yes, just a week before the big day, I was able to go do a little shopping for my children. Although happy that I could do as much as I did, I was still sad that I couldn't do more.

Last night sitting in the living room with the Christmas lights on, I was chatting with my 14 year old daughter. I mentioned that I hoped they weren't disappointed on Christmas. When she asked what do you mean? I explained that they were only getting one gift each and I just hoped they weren't disappointed. My heart swelled with pride as I listened to her reply -- "Mom, Christmas isn't in the gifts."

She's absolutely right. It's not in the gifts. It's in the birth of Jesus that we celebrate, in the time that we actually take to be with friends and family. In reflecting in this, I looked back over the past year with the financial difficulties, my oldest daughter being in a car accident and my husband away so much on travel. Our family was always taken care of despite the financial difficulties. There was always food on the table, heat in the house and a roof over our heads. Yes, my daughter was in a terrible car accident and from looking at the car I had wondered how she even walked away. But again, my daughter is here and looking forward to college and her adult life. My husband has been gone seven out of the last ten days for business trips and a lot more than that over the past year, but my husband has a great job that he absolutely loves and he is my biggest supporter in my writing.

So as I had to be told by my 14 year old daughter, Christmas isn't in the gifts. My life is filled with my gifts that cannot be found in a store. What do you have for gifts that aren't under your tree?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.