By: Gabriela Yareliz
Wishing you all a merry merry Christmas Eve from my little candle-lit apartment to your home and heart. It has been a year that we have survived together, and I don’t blame you if you aren’t in a very festive mood tonight, or tomorrow or on New Year’s Eve. We’ve been on a journey. We’ve lost a lot, stressed a lot and many of us are far from traditions and family. This post just has some little things to seek out that may brighten your night or the next few days as we close out the festive season.
Personally, I spent the morning cooking, FaceTiming, doing a facemask and wrapping some last stragglers. I’m settling in this evening with a Mosaic Christmas Eve service, with a message from Erwin McManus. I’ll read a bit from Luke 2, and then spend some more time on my phone. Here is to celebrating all that we do have and the peace and love that came down.
Little things that may brighten your spirit:
Watch an old familiar movie
A familiar movie has an element of nostalgia to it. I love the Santa Claus movies with Tim Allen, Christmas with the Kranks and The Holiday. These films always make me smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside. You can also watch a film with a loved one who is far.
Find the lights
My boyfriend and I walked to all the bright and festive spots in the city and our immediate surroundings. There is something about little lights in the darkness that is magical. A reminder of God’s light that pierces through our darkness, even on the darkest night.
Find a good blanket
My mom gifted me a deliciously soft blanket. I have a pile of about four blankets on my bed alone, at any given time. I am partial to blankets. They make me feel cozy, and a good one feels almost like an embrace (physical touch is my love language). Bust out your fuzzy blankets, your wool blankets and the heated ones, too. Maybe it’s time for a blanket fort? (I used to live in these, as a kid).
Make several servings of a good meal
All meals are not created equal. I recently made Joanna Gaines’ Sweet Pea Orecchiette receipe (vegetarian version). I loved it. It’s flavorful and buttery; sweet and savory. I spent the morning making more. Pick a meal that you could eat for five days straight, and make it so you have for several sittings. It will make you smile when it comes time to warm it up and dig in.
Revisit old memories with family
It’s important to remember better times and important to connect with those you love. Take some time to make some Zoom or FaceTime calls. It’s good for the soul.
I am not telling you anything you don’t know in this post, but these are simply reminders. It is certainly better to give than to receive. This time of year is all about the greatest gift given to us, the gift of God Himself. May we always pour ourselves out as He did. Find a family in need; find a food pantry or shelter accepting donations. Take good things to donate (not leftover junk)– things you would use. Maybe include a little note with the item explaining how to use or cook it. It may seem basic to you, but to someone else, it may make a very lasting memory or impression.
Froth your milk
Guys, your hot chocolates, coffee, and teas will never be the same. If you want a small luxury in your every day, froth your milk. It elevates everything. And personally, it brings me joy. The more foam, the better. For some yummy vegan drink options, check out RainbowPlantLife’s recipes here.
Stop tracking packages
This year, every type of shipping service has left us scrambling and with packages out in the ether. Here’s a tip: let it go, and stop refreshing all your tracking tabs. So we’ll have 12 days of Christmas post-Christmas. It’s cool. Let’s focus on what we can give and the gift of presence. In the end, that’s all that matters.
Review the past year and plan for the next
It’s important to be self-aware and review, and it’s important to make plans and seek clarity. It’s important to start now, if you can. Proverbs 29 says people perish without vision. May we seek the dreams He has for our lives and be willing to chase after them, empowered.
Music makes the vibe
There is something special about music. I have noticed more and more how when one enters a space with the right music, it’s a whole vibe. If you can, open Pandora or iHeartradio or get your Alexa going. Play something that brings the vibe you want to create in your space. Music is so powerful, and it affects our attitude and disposition. Let’s use it to elevate the season.
Take time to pause, and as Erwin McManus is reminding us tonight, make sure you don’t miss what God is doing all around you. Take time to create spaces to reflect, connect, give and feel joy.
May you feel His peace and embrace, tonight and always.