Winter Wonderland Week: Guest Blogger Tommy Newberry Finds Inspiration on Christmas Morning
What are your Christmas mornings like? As far back as I can remember, there’s been a crowd. Rewinding a good bit, I can’t remember a Christmas that didn’t involve at least nine family members. The list included my parents, a couple of grandmothers, four sisters, and myself. As the years passed the group size has multiplied more than three times. Funny how that works. Even with the loss of grandparents, the Christmas celebration at my parent’s home will reach an all-time high with 30 family members only about ten days from now. From my perspective, this includes my wife and three sons, my parents, my four sisters, their husbands and my combined 14 nieces and nephews. My first niece will be accompanied by her fiancé, putting the gathering at a record 30. We have been blessed indeed. It will be loud and a lot of fun.
With such a big crowd, we’ve learned a few tricks over the years to make the get together run more smoothly. One practice in particular came in very handy, especially when all the grandchildren were very small. Imagine 20 plus in a room all opening gifts at the same time… In an attempt to minimize the mess, we started passing out large green, plastic trash bags before we opened gifts. Each family had a bag or two or three and were encouraged to clean up as they opened up, stuffing the wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and boxes into the trash bags to avoid a massive cleanup at the end. At least that was the plan. Inevitably, though, the efficiency didn’t always translate into effectiveness. On several occasions, an over eager family member or two (names withheld) inadvertently disposed of something essential. Instead of just getting rid of the mess, they got rid of the gift itself. And the more tiny the present, the greater the chance that it might get scooped up and trapped in one of the garbage bags soon to be hauled around the house, back near the garage and out of sight. Fast forward a few hours...
"Has anyone seen an earring laying around?” “Did anybody see an envelope with a check inside?” “Where are the batteries to my fire truck?” “I can’t find the charger for my new phone.” “I’m missing a…"
Of course, nobody had seen anything. There were no witnesses. And everyone knew what this meant, and it was not good news. If no one had seen it and it didn’t walk away, it had to be in one of those 10 or so trash bags back behind the house. And by this time in the afternoon, those bags weren’t just filled with discarded wrapping paper, they now contained the collateral damage of a holiday feast. So if you were serious about finding what you lost, you would have to pick a bag and start digging. The remnants of Christmas dinner, a not so fresh diaper, signs that someone may have a bad cold and who knows what else were the obstacles that stood between you and your objective. If you wanted to recover the gift, you would have to pay the price and dig through the muck. So we held our nose, and with make-shift gloves, searched the trash like CSI detectives hunting for evidence. And, if we were determined, we usually found what we were looking for. You could hear the celebratory, “I found it!” scream from around the house.
As a life coach, I have developed a conviction over the years, and it reminds me of the family Christmas I just described. I believe that God made each of us for a particular purpose and until we discover this purpose, things will never seem quite right. Too often, we get so busy dealing with lots of stuff (the wrappings and trappings) in our busy lives that it becomes easy to lose what really matters. But until the noise and chatter dies down a bit, we may not even notice it is missing. Sometimes it was the day after Christmas before someone realized a gift was gone.
And when you realize that you’ve lost something meaningful, you naturally want to go find it. And you should be willing to do whatever it takes to make the recovery. You have a calling, a divinely infused mission that will serve others and bring great fulfillment to you at the same time. If you’ve lost this sense of direction, go look for it. Now more than ever, the world needs people like you to use their God-given talents to make a positive difference.
You may have to sift through some clutter and other junk to find what you’ve lost, but you will find it if you start looking. And when you find this purpose, you can surely celebrate because God will be cheering for you!
New York Times Bestselling Author of The 4:8 Principle
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