Christmas is always life-altering.
There's the reminder that baby Jesus was born and changed the course of the human world - both religiously and historically. But, that's a buzz kill, thinking about how Christianity has affected the socio-political landscape through the centuries.
Instead, we'll turn our attention to happy things. Like candy canes and prime rib and our life-altering Roku.
I told you Santa would bring something that would change life as we know it. Having taken my sort-of-not-shopping hiatus, I'm easily impressed. That, coupled with not having cable for two years and a recent re-discovery of this thing called prime time television, I have a new source of joy!
After you girls, of course. And food. Fried food, specifically.
Christmas was life-altering in another way too. There was this sudden influx of Stuff in our house. From so many loving, giving and generous people.
You don't have to read the following list, unless you have reason to believe that you're on it. And if you're not and think you should be, then sorry I forgot you. And if you want to be on it, you should probably think about sending something. Just kidding, People.
In order of gift appearance:
Lola, Lola, the RCPs (shout out to Youngest for her homemade gifts), Auntie/Ninang Tammie, Uncle/Ninong Ricky, Auntie D, Uncle Ron, Auntie/Ninang Jonelle, Auntie Abby, Uncle Brad, Auntie Judy, Uncle Ham, Grandma Gibbs, Auntie/Ninang Katherine, Grandma Jane, Grandpa James, Auntie Joyce, Auntie Shelly, Auntie Lisa, Auntie Peggy, Super Auntie, Super Uncle, Auntie Sami, Uncle Tristan, Auntie Cheryl, Uncle Chuck, Auntie Merissa, Auntie Kristy, Auntie Katie, Uncle Mike, Auntie Celi, Auntie Jenina, Gramma, Granpa, Auntie Christy, Uncle Travis, Uncle Jahn, Auntie Jhonna, Grandma Anna and all the Kidlets in the aforementioned families.
I'm probably forgetting someone. Suffice it to say, there were a LOT of gifts.
So, of course, to fit all of our new toys into the house, I had to rearrange furniture.
You think I'm joking, but I'm SO NOT.
The last way Christmas was life-altering was the way in which it ought to be. At it's core Christmas is a celebration of the long-expected gifts of Jesus, of the hope, joy, love and peace that God brings into our lives. These are gifts that should be celebrated every day, long after the toys are put away, the tree is taken down, the leftovers are eaten. Long after the stickers are shared.
As we embark into the New Year, into another 365 days, another trip around the sun, let us hold fast to the meaning of this much-celebrated, but quickly forgotten season. Let our lives be altered, not only by the hope, joy, love, and peace we find in Jesus, but also by that which we find in each other, in our family, in everyday strangers, in new friends and old friends, in nature and in the city, in our backyard and a world away. And may our [Christian] experience of hope, joy, love and peace multiply, not divide. Build up, not tear down. Cooperate, not complicate. Embrace, not reject. Celebrate, not just tolerate.
Because God gave us a gift that tells us: God loves us no matter what.
The least we can do is to do the same for others.
World, prepare to be Stickered!
Love you no matter what,
P.S. A special Christmas morning video bonus for the People. I call this "Danielle gets mad at her new toy, but then they are friends again":