‘Tis the season for sipping peppermint hot coco, cutting down pine or cedar trees, hanging up sparkling lights, taking pictures with Santa and of course opening up presents. On the other hand this time of year is very special and doesn’t consist of doing any of those things. Its a time of celebration, a time of welcoming Jesus into the world. Before I jump too far, let me rewind and take you back to my childhood. Growing up with quite a few cousins my family would put each child’s name into a hat and every child would draw a name. Whoever you drew was the person you would buy presents for. Some of us were happy while others were not but we all were grateful to be receiving gifts. What we didn’t realize at that time was long ago our God gave us the most precious gift. The Bible tells us, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). Early this year I re-proclaimed my faith to the Lord and I decided to serve him this Christmas season. Not only will I be celebrating his birth with my family, I will be celebrating this special time with my church. I signed up to be a greeter and candle lighter during the Christmas Eve service. I have also devoted the past 24 days to reading Journey To The Manger. The first couple of days were about remembering who HE was and understanding that Jesus was God’s promise to us. Throughout the following days the story transitioned into more of what we all know about the road to Bethlehem but with a small twist. Everyday you read a devotion then a scripture to bring it all together. On day 18 the devotion was Walk by Faith, and within I read about how “faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see”. Like they say in the movie The Santa Clause “seeing is not believing, believing is seeing”. Another thing that separated this plan from all the others was at the end of every plan there is an activity to do. On day 15 the activity said to “pay it forward. Next time you grab a cup of coffee or a treat, pay for the person behind you in line”. Although I didn’t pay it forward on the 15th, I did on the 16th. My sister came with daddysmith, the smithboys and I to the mall. As the Smiths like to say we were all starvin marvins so we headed straight to the food court. We were in line waiting for Panda Express when my sister decided to get something else from another line. As she walked away I remembered what my activity was the day before; pay it forward. I asked daddysmith if we could pay for my sisters food, without any hesitation he smiled and said yes of course. Its like he knew what I was thinking and why I asked. He can do that from time to time. Anyway when I told my sister we were going to pay for her lunch she looked shocked, and said thank you sissy. The last 24 days opened my eyes to a few things. This season is for celebrating the birth of Christ, giving to others and finding hope. Of course we will continue our Smith family traditions of elf on the shelf, breakfast with Santa, and watch Christmas movies while making treats. I’m not turning into the grinch who stole Christmas. But we will also start incorporating Jesus’ birthday and celebrating him. Because HE is the reason for this season. HE is the wonder of Christmas and last night confirmed exactly that. When I was greeting people walking into HCBC I saw joy and happiness. I saw family’s of the community come together to praise and worship our father. With the singing of Christmas carols and lighting of the candle you could feel the Lords presence. Everyone in the room was celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. At the very end of the service Pastor Tim dismissed us with a Merry Christmas and the first thing I saw when I looked up was my big man! Smithboy#1 was there celebrating with his other family. I immediately walked over hugged and gave him what it probably felt like a million kisses. We talked for a minute and when I was about to walk away, he hugged me so tight and whispered in my ear “I love you mommy”. As I was walking to my car I couldn’t stop smiling. Last night I went to serve the Lord and his son. What I didn’t expect was a gift of seeing my son. Like I said before HE is the reason for the season! HE is the wonder of Christmas!