Yesterday morning I woke up and had a wonderful morning reading and praying but then I got really hungry and realized that I didn't have any food in the house so I went to the only place open and got the only thing I like at Starbucks - their breakfast sandwich :) .... as I was waiting for them to cook it up I was reading the newspaper there and it seemed that all that was in it was the depressing news about the low retail sales so I put the paper down and tried not to be affected by what I had read but it wasn't until later that day at the Parsons that I really got my thoughts straight.
The Parsons are some of my dearest friends. I met them just over a year ago and have totally fallen in love with their family. If you've met them then you know what I'm talking about. They've spent most of their life in Russia with an organization called Young Life but now they live here and just travel back and forth to Russia a couple of times each year.
They had invited me over for Christmas dinner and it was incredible and during the meal we all found these little questions hidden underneath our plate, which is totally something my mom would've done so I got a kick out of it, and one of the questions was to recall your favorite Christmas memory. The question had been under their grandfathers plate and as he began to share his story big tears welled up in his eyes. He told us of growing up working on a sugar plantation. I can't even begin to imagine the labor involved in what he did but he said on Christmas day the owner would come around in his truck and give everyone an apple and an orange and he recalled looking forward to that day and those treats the entire year. It brings tears to my eyes just remembering him telling the story.
Then they asked me to answer the same question and I did my best to scan back through all the Christmas memories I could remember and I could recall very few gifts that I had gotten and even fewer that I had given but the one Christmas memory that I really loved was when my family decided to hop in the car and go up and have a white Christmas in northern Arizona instead of celebrating in Chandler. We got cozy in a some small hotel room, played in the snow a bit but best of all we were together and enjoying the simple pleasures that God gives us.
This got me thinking how wonderful it is that if we're honest with ourselves we know that we don't need the economy to be great in order to be happy or to live a life full of love and excitement. Deep down we know that money doesn't equal hope and all it takes to change our current state is to remember back to a time when we were truly happy and to be thankful for all we have learned and experienced in the meantime. No matter what has happened or is happening in our life the choice is ours how we let it affect us. So as we get ready for the new year let's commit to letting go of the things we can't control and taking control of the things we can.