Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: December 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Don't Melt Under the Holiday Stress!

Here in the Midwest, the weather is "blah" and college students like myself are facing the depressing notion that finals are right around the corner. A relaxing holiday and Christmas merriment at home aren't going to happen until I get through three exams, two essays and two projects.

That paragraph alone might be a bit of a downer, but take heart: It gets better. See, I'm a Christmas fanatic- I think j inherited that from my grandma (here's a shoutout to ya Grammy!). Needless to say, I've been outfitting my apartment with the cutest little Christmas touches and seasonal decor. It's the first year I have a real "place" to do that with.  

While students around me may be griping and groaning, I'm belting out "Hark the Herald Angel Sing," my longtime favorite carol. Stress may be around me but it will not consume me! This little melting snowman might succumb to it all, but not this girl!

I doubt Jesus intended for us to stress out about getting to the holiday resting, and then to turn around and stress about that as well. In fact, there were very little expectations that first Christmas. All that was awaited was little baby Jesus and the provision for Mary and Joseph to deliver Him. Everything else was just extra- the "party" with the shepherds, the gifts from the wisemen and even the fancy Christmas donkey that got them to the manger.  (RELATED: Deck the Halls with Gifts for Runners)

My point is: We get so wrapped up in the consumerism, that we often miss out on Christ's message this time of year. I for one, have often declared that" it's not Christmastime until...." or "I'll be able to relax and celebrate when..."  But what if we just expect Christ this year? Easier said than done, but there's something to be said for declaring that we CAN celebrate now because our focus isn't on the holiday lights or even the believed traditions. Our focus is on Him.  He alone is the Perfect Gift, and we know that He was born. No amount of schoolwork- or any work- should be able to delay the joy that comes with such knowledge!

So, if you see me walking around with headphones on and my eyes focused on a stack of notecards, be sure to wave. I'll stop my Christmas playlist and my test prep to wish you Merry Christmas! I'm not waiting till I'm done with my last exam, to rejoice- and you shouldn't either!

Merry Christmas!

RELATED: Christmas 2013 in Pictures
RELATED: 2013 Wildlights at the Zoo

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo

     Ever since I was little, the Zoolights have been a Christmas tradition for my family. My parents used to bundle us up and load us in the wagon where we would get courtesy transportation around the zoo, complete with hot chocolate. While no one pulls me in a wagon these days, the experience is still one I treasure.  As the years have gone by, the lights have only gotten bigger and brighter, as well. That gives me another excuse to go multiple times!
     This year, I went with a friend the day after the lights opened. We had to go early because of conflicting holiday schedules. "Do they have anything like this in Florida?" I asked as we stared in awe at a 28-foot tree of lights. "No," she said after a minute. "Not that I know of."
     She had never been to the Wildlights before and it's safe to say that both of us had a great time. I'll certainly return- at least once- before the animal return to center stage and the lights dim  on January 4th. But here are some pictures from this year's zoo lights.  (RELATED: Christmas 2013 in Pictures)
     If you get the chance: grab your own friends or family and head to the Columbus Zoo. Start your own holiday tradition: You, your loved ones and three million LED Christmas lights. If that doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit, you may just be the Grinch! :)