O Holy Night

At approximately 5:07 p.m. tonight, I finished my Christmas shopping.

(Please don’t hate me.)

I still have some homemade gifts to make for select friends and family, but those should be completed over the weekend. With Christmas just over a week away, I’m breathing a sigh of relief that I can avoid wasting half a tank of gas circling the parking lot at Target or Walmart trying to find a parking space, nearly getting mowed down by crazed shoppers driving unwieldy shopping carts, and growing moss while standing in the checkout line.

(Seriously, please don’t hate me.)

I don’t mean to antagonize any readers who may still be a few gifts shy of completing their shopping lists. It’s just that I’m delighted to be finished this early and to be able to truly relax and enjoy this time leading up to Christmas day.

This December has provided me with many wonderful reminders of how special Christmas is. I think my favorite event so far was an Advent celebration hosted by some friends earlier this week. They invited a large group of us over to eat, sing, and reflect on Christ’s birth. We also shared our own favorite Christmas memories–many funny, some bittersweet, and a few good blackmail-worthy stories that we were sworn to secrecy on.

We were a diverse group–some married, some single, some older, some younger, some just starting their families, some empty nesters. Although we come from different backgrounds and experiences, we were united in our celebration of Jesus’ birth. That time of fellowship was so sweet and special; if we met every week from now on I don’t think I’d tire of it. For me it was a little foretaste of Heaven–great food, beautiful singing, awesome fellowship, and Christ at the center of it all.

Whether you’re like me and have finished your Christmas shopping or you’re just getting started, I hope that you are able to slow down and really experience the true meaning of Christmas. The Christmas story is most glorious when it’s shared with others, so don’t pass up opportunties that come your way to spend it with family and friends this season.

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