As you gather around your friends and loved ones this Christmas, here are a few thoughts to inspire and encourage you. All of them remind us of the true meaning of Christmas and we need to remember Jesus is not only the reason for this holiday but every day and we should keep that Christmas spirit with us all year.
It’s hard to believe Christmas is already here and will soon be just a memory but perhaps that's fitting, given the year it's been. It’s been a rough year for many people enduring hardships and other issues they didn't foresee, but, we made it through and I promise you 2018 is going to be a better year for everyone.
I'd like to remind each one of you that no matter what you go through, there a few things that remain unchanged and are timeless; things that endure no matter how difficult things get or how many changes life brings. Those are the gifts that we've been given and so in this season of giving, what a perfect time to reflect on those gifts. Among my many gifts:
First and foremost is the gift of Salvation. Without God I would be nothing. With Him and because of Him, I have hope, love and grace sufficient for ALL my needs. We're all designed in God's perfect creation to be strong --look what you've been through and despite it all you're still here because of God. He has a reason and purpose for everything and His love is unending and unconditional and it's the one thing you can always count on.
The gift of love is the most beautiful gift of all. Life is so much sweeter when its shared with someone by your side and this year I'm counting my blessings to have found that very special person. God's timing is perfect and sometimes he brings special people into our lives and gives us something very special that some people spend their whole lives searching for and never find. A good, solid and lasting relationship is unconditional and built on respect, trust, honesty and good communication and can be found in friendships, both personal, casual and professional. When you find it, hold onto it, nurture it and'cherish every moment.
I have a family who loves me and cares about me unconditionally and that is a blessing. My little family of four has grown and changed in ways I could never imagine but I'm reminded that it isn't blood that makes a family and I'm blessed by each of them. I'm also thankful for my extended family of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins whose love is a gift beyond measure and riches.
I'm surrounded by Friends both new and old whose friendship is truly a gift. We share friendships built on truth, respect and love and we believe in, support and have grown to love each other unconditionally. One can never have too many friends and I am blessed to have a circle of friends who aren't just friends but are truly another very special family.
I am also blessed with the gift of health and that is a gift money can't buy and nothing can take away but we often overlook and neglect. Take care of yourself, not just physically but spiritually, emotionally and mentally and you'll be blessed beyond measure and enjoy life to the fullest.
Pets are an important part of our lives and without them our lives would be empty and void. With them our lives are enriched, brightened and filled with love that never ends. Pets can teach us a lot about life yet ask for nothing more than simple love in return.
More than ever having a job is truly a blessing. No matter what that job may entail, every job is important. Sometimes the best benefits of a job are those found in volunteering and giving of yourself.
I'm also thankful for the opportunity to do something I love, writing for the greatest local newspaper and being part of the wonderful staff who works together to make it the very best. I'm proud of the community and people it represents and serves and the endless opportunities available for those who call Covington and Newton County home.
As the holidays unwind and another New Year approaches, remember the real meaning of Christmas isn't found in gifts, toys and feasting on food but rather in the love that can only be found through Jesus Christ. 2017 has been a difficult year for all of us but keep looking ahead and to God to guide you and thank Him for all your gifts. Don't take one moment for granted, don't hold grudges and never miss the opportunity to right any wrongs and tell somebody you love them while you still can. You will find that God blesses and loves you no matter what and anything is possible with Him by your side.
May each of you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!
Beth Rowe is a columnist who sees the world around her and tells it like it is. She may be reached at email@example.com.