As the beige and dingy cardboard box made its way down from the attic stairs, my heart would would beat loudly with excitement. As a young teenager, I had taken up the job of decorating my room for Christmas (even if I was the only one to enjoy the scene). That box carried my 10-inch tree, a plastic manger scene, lights and a few odd and end decorations nobody else wanted.
But that’s not what I was after. I wanted more than just the items inside.
Every year as I would slowly dig to the bottom of my box, I would find a few pieces of paper; a letter written to me…from me.
You see, every year before packing up my room, I wrote a letter sharing the memories from that year’s Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. I would literally make a list of my absolute favorite moments, include recipies and even ideas for next year.
But my favorite portion I left for the end. I would write out goals for my next year. Some goals seemed within my reach at the time while others seemed miles away. Each year I knew when the decorations came out, I would be able to see how successful I had been at meeting any of the dreams I had set 11 months ago.
This year, I’m bringing back this tradition to our family. As we pack up our memories this year, I’m going to ask each family member to add a goal they would like to achieve in 2016, as well as a wish for our family. I haven’t decided how this will look yet, being that my kids are quite young, but what a great way to focus on the present while packing up the past.
Regardless what your giftedness in the area of writing may reveal, the act of jotting down memories and goals helps you process their value. It’s the very beginning of becoming aware of a goal you really want to see yourself cross and the opportunity to do something about it in 11 months. The best part is, your notes are revealed right as Christmas begins.
How are you moving forward this Christmas?
What is one memory you can put into writing?
What is one goal you can really strive to achieve?
I will end with a poem I stuck in with my note back in 2001 (my second year in college). I never quit writing and never will.
Life is a gift; unwrap the present, throw away the past,
Life is a ride; look to the hills, enjoy the thrill while it lasts.
Life is an adventure; follow your heart, there your treasure will be discovered,
Life is a maze; several wrong turns, but One right path to be uncovered.
Life is beautiful; starting from a seed, growing into a flower, unique and special,
Life is a challenge; trying to find God’s will, seeking to be His prized and used vessel.
Life is a mirror; smiling or frowning, your reflection will surely glow,
Life is a puzzle; several scattered pieces, but the ending masterpiece will eventually show.
Life is hope; looking to the finish line, recognizing the incredible goal in sight,
Life is Christ; I am trusting in the Great Shepherd Who has already won this lamb’s fight.
Share your traditions with me in the comments today!
Want to grab Bethany’s new book: “UnMasked: The Journey from Surviving to Thriving”? You are invited to order a signed copy right here!