CHRISTMAS LESSONS FOR THE NEW YEAR
When we said we wanted a different Christmas, we never imagined this would be it. Moving to the other side of the city on the 24th of December was not in our plans, but I’m sure it had been on God’s agenda for a while. Today I want to share four beautiful and simple things I learned this Christmas:
Pretty lights fix everything.
Literally everything. How do you make a furniture-less living room full of boxes cozy for a nice Christmas dinner? You move the boxes out of the way, use all the blankets and pillows to make a cozy corner and plug in some Christmas lights.
I think the same goes for our day to day, a little bit of light goes a long way. So since we don’t typically wrap ourselves in Christmas lights and walk around town, what is light in our everyday life? My first thought is the Word of God, Psalm 119:105 says “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet”. What is written in the Bible is for me and it’s for my today. The light it provides brings clarity, peace, faith and strength. It exposes confusion, fear and doubt for what they really are: lies. This year, make it a habit to stay plugged into the Word so you can be a light to everyone else, which was my second thought. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
So how does this translate to “real life”? Read the Word every day and share it. Text a friend the verse of the day, call a family member and speak truth into their situation, smile and listen to someone who needs to know they’re important. I want to be clothed in light; that wherever I go the atmosphere (or in millennial terms, the vibe) would change because when I walked in so did joy, peace, and faith; because JESUS walked in with me.
2. You overcome the overwhelming when you start.
Start with a box, with a bag, with anything and work your way through it all. The task of moving everything from a four story townhouse into a three bedroom apartment is a daunting one, but we did it. It took teamwork, organization, sweat and blisters, but we got it done. I take on that mentality for the new year. No matter how overwhelming things may look, if I just start and work my way through it, I can get it done.
For example, start walking 15 minutes a day until you´re ready to commit to a workout routine. Start consolidating one friend until you see God move powerfully in their life and then together share the testimony with someone new. With time, faith and prayer, in 2019 you can be the leader of a powerful cell group! If you need to restore things at home, start by asking for forgiveness. If that’s too much, start by showing kindness to your loved ones. Come home with flowers for your mom, a chocolate bar for your dad, a thoughtful card for your sister. Take that first step and find your pace to keep walking towards the goal.
3. You don’t need a perfect tree for a perfect Christmas.
Here is a picture of our tree wrapped in plastic wrap, which was supposed to make it to our apartment intact:
Here is a picture of how the tree was delivered to our new apartment:
Let’s just say things did not go as planned. And I’m so happy they didn’t! If the tree would’ve arrived perfectly, as planned and desired, I would’ve missed out on re-assembling and decorating the tree with my dad and Danny.
In the 22 years I’ve been Alfredo Mora’s daughter we never decorated a Christmas tree together. It’s not a tragic thing or anything, it’s just something my mom and I always took care of while he cooked. But because my mom was still at the old house when the tree arrived, Dad, Danny and I were the only ones there to make it happen. We laughed, he told us stories about his Christmases as a kid, and together we were delighted by thought that this would make Mom so happy.
When things don’t go as planned, breathe, take a step back and instead of welcoming disappointment, dig around for the opportunity that is waiting to be discovered. Laugh about it, sing about it, call a friend and build stronger bonds through unexpected situations. Plans are good, but so is being able to laugh when they don’t work out. :)
4. Hide & Seek is a great game to play while making Christmas dinner.
Our new place has a bigger, nicer kitchen than the last, so we were all very excited to get in there and cook. But because everything was in boxes, prepping dinner was a bit more challenging than usual. I admire my mom for the way she takes challenging situations and makes them fun and memorable. We were sweaty, hungry, and dinner time was approaching. We could’ve had a bad attitude but instead, we played Hide & Seek. She’d say what she needed and we’d dig around the boxes until we found it and yell “got it!”. Don’t let the challenging moments steal your joy this year, instead let them increase your creativity and help you grow.
We gathered around the table, gave thanks and dove into our improvised dinner. We sang Happy Birthday Jesus and my mom read Luke 2, the story of Jesus’ birth. We put all the presents into a large basket and covered it with a blanket and my mom and I took turns giving out presents. As a family, we shared what we were grateful for in 2018, what we conquered, our dreams for 2019, and so on. We laughed, we hugged, we talked and love filled the air! Okay, I know that sounded a bit too poetic or cliche, but it’s true! Starting this new cycle in a new apartment was one of God’s best gift to us, after giving us His Son of course.
It’s no secret I love Christmas, I even had a “Christmas in July” birthday party a few years ago. (Vlogs linked below) But more than the cookies and eggnog, I think Christmas should be celebrated every day because every day we enjoy the presence of God in our lives. The peace and joy Jesus brought when He came to earth is not just for the holidays, it’s a gift for everyday life. Giving, loving, praising are all things that bring Heaven to Earth. And so, instead of wearing my ugly Christmas sweater all year, I will try to wear the Christmas attitude year round and remind those around me that Jesus is alive, He is good and He is for us!
Happy January from the Moras! <3
(CHRISTMAS IN JULY VLOG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVbZtCFlqlE Shoutout to my amazing and talented cousin for documenting the special occasion. Love you Sabs!)