What a good weekend. Jamie (our youngest daughter--a college student) told me a month ago to keep December 16th open. So I did, not quite sure what that meant. She came home from college last week and told me she had bought tickets for Friday's Dallas Mavericks/Orlando Magic game. A part of her Christmas to me (I wouldn't have thought to get tickets off E-Bay!). So on a cold Friday evening, we drove to Dallas and took the DART train to the American Airlines Center (A perfect way to go to downtown Dallas. No parking, no traffic, no hassle.)
I love this time of the year. My earliest memories of Christmas involve travel. Both sets of grandparents (and uncles, aunts, and cousins) lived in Arkansas. Each Christmas, we traveled from Dallas to Arkansas. In fact, I can't recall a Christmas when we didn't travel. We would generally leave very early in the morning. Often, it was about 4:00 AM. Leaving "in the middle of the night" made it seem even more like an adventure. These trips, many years later, are still very good memories.
Years later after marriage and children, we too began traveling at Christmas. I now have memories of traveling with my own children at Christmas. I still look forward to these trips. It feels very normal to me. And--for some reason, we too leave very early in the morning. :)
Not only do I usually travel at this time of the year but I generally reflect a great deal during December. I think about the year and the upcoming new year. I think about my life--where I've been and where I'm going. I reflect on my family and friendships and life in general. It is a time when I get sentimental about a lot of things. I find all of this to be refreshing. Maybe I just enjoy ending a year and starting over again.
There are a few questions I generally reflect on during this time of the year:
- Am I really growing and maturing in my relationship with God?
- In my more honest moments, is there a part of my life (maybe an attitude, a habit, a behavior etc.) that really needs to be addressed? Is there something that needs attention but up to now I have ignored it?
- Do I enjoy my work at this point in my life? Why or why not?
- How am I doing with the changes I have experienced this past year?
- If Jesus were in conversation with me (physically present and talking), what might he say?
- Is there something in my life which really needs to be handled differently this next year?
You may find other questions to be very helpful as well. This just reflects my effort to get honest about the previous year and the present.