I never feel like Christmas is completely gone until my family leaves to head back to the Great White Frozen Tundra, these days known as Michigan. For whatever reason, I always feel a sadness after Christmas, and try as I might, I can't seem to shake it.

The world is festooned in cozy lights and decorations (well, with the minor exception of THAT neighbor that puts out every blow-up decoration known to man). Rich comfort foods surround you for a full month, and for a brief moment in time, people greet you with a smile and wish you HAPPY HOLIDAYS and a MERRY CHRISTMAS.  They have goodwill and glad tidings in their heart that they are more than willing to share.

Then, New Years comes, and perhaps it's the fact that their resolutions to lose weight make them crabby, but everyone is back to their grumpy selves.  At least that's how I feel...

I love Linus' monologue.  It brings me to tears every time I see or hear it.  And it's true.  That is, truly, what Christmas is all about.  A Christ child that came to Earth, assumed human flesh, to save me from sin.  This should provide me with such comfort and fill me with such joy at this time of the year.

And it does ... but perhaps it's the dull ache of silence in the house after a season filled with laughter, food, fun, and merriment.  Or maybe it's the promise of some ugly wind chills/temperatures in the coming days (grumble, grumble).  It could be that the over-spending in December has given way to the "too much month at the end of the check" feelings of January.  And, quite possibly, it's the realization that the magical moments of Christmas get hidden in the stark reality of life.  It could be all of these things, but they weigh heavily upon me.

I remember going to bed on Christmas Eve and thinking, "I need to carry Christmas in my heart throughout the 2014 year.  I love the way it feels!"  In essence, for me, what I was saying was that I needed to share my love of Christ ... let it exude through/from me.

It was a good thought, in theory.  And for just a bit, it worked. Until I went to Starbucks, two days after Christmas, and they wouldn't redeem my 50% off coupon, and we had to pay full price for all of our drinks.  I didn't have Christmas in my heart then.  Nope. Nothing being exuded except meanness.

The good thing about this whole Christ-walk is that He doesn't hold grudges, and He doesn't create a checklist that we must tick off in order to gain entry into heaven.  He gives a clean slate called grace.

I said I wasn't letting the little things of 2013 get to me, but what I was doing was settling into apathy.  That place is just as dangerous as letting the little things get to me.

This year, this brand new 2014 year, I am going to work on not worrying about the little things and just being present in life.  Worrying does me little good ... it tears me down physically, and it blocks that "Christmas in My Heart" that I am looking to embrace.  Now, you might need to remind me of this in a month or two ... or like last night, when I dreamed of all my pipe freezing in my house.  However, I think it's a much better goal than, say, worrying about the things I am physically unable to change.

I wish you, my dear readers, Christmas in your hearts as well!  Here's to a brand new year spread out before us.  Let none of us waste a moment of it.


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