New Year, New Box.

It’s one of my favorite traditions. Sitting here on New Year’s, coffee in hand, wrapped in blanket, and reading through my past year from the box. It’s a tradition I started a few years ago, to keep cards, notes and memories from throughout the year, so I can sit down at the end and look back at all the year had to hold. And 2012 held some big things! This year the box got a pretty spot on my dresser…

And of course, Gats had to jump in on a photo…

He’s such a handsome little man 🙂 Attention hog, but handsome. Anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite notes from 2012!

There was this sweet card from one of my best friends when I moved into my new house.

And this. The world’s greatest Christmas card! From the students in the fraternity I advise. And, as if the 2 ft. pull out wasn’t enough, it also plays “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” by The Jackson 5. LOVE.

And finally, my favorite from one of my all-time favorite people. I mean, we’ve all had this feeling in life, right? Loving each other through the rough patches, that’s what life is!

And now, here we go into 2013. With an empty box and 365 days with which to fill it! What will your box hold this year? Let’s find out together.

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The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: O Holy Night.

Sunday at church they put on a Christmas choir and drama production. It included a slew of fantastic, traditional Christmas music and a great message about slowing down and remembering that Jesus came for you, because He loves you more than anyone else.

One of the standout points to me was the idea that as we get older, and life gets to us, the holidays lose a little bit of their shine. So often we become embittered and hurt by the season and it actually becomes more of a dread than a joy (I know I find myself here.) As we were hearing about the importance of going back to the meaning, I started thinking about all the Christmas carols that were being sung, and how much I love them. I remember always singing Christmas songs at home when I was little; at church, dancing around with the record player. They are just a fundamental part of the holiday for me. And I started to wonder if that tradition is sort of evaporating…as we tune out Christmas songs (because let’s be honest, they play the same 15 on the radio for two months…) and everything becomes more mainstream and pop culture…will my kids even know these traditional songs?

The final tune was one of my favorites, O Holy Night. I wanted to share it because the lesser known verses, specifically the third, really hit me this week. It’s so powerful. And as I was thinking about all this music that is so familiar to me, I realized I never really let the words sink in; I’m just so used to the melody. So again in the spirit of being present, I give you some lyrics to think about.

Do you have a favorite Christmas carol?

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviours birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees,
Oh, hear the angels voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night,
O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand;
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend;
He knows our need,
To our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace; 
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord,
Oh, praise His name forever!
His powr and glory evermore proclaim!
His powr and glory evermore proclaim!