*For Immediate Release

Experience the Gift of Self-Reflection this Christmas
By: Jenny Cox
The holiday season brings forth busyness wrapped in festive activities as we are in constant motion, as our hearts and minds move towards what is next on our to-do lists. For many of us the thought of a “silent night” during the season of Christmas seems almost unattainable. During this holiday season take time to be still and reflect on nontangible gifts that cannot be wrapped in tinsel or beautifully wrapped boxes. Consider these three reasons to take time this Christmas to ponder and appreciate the sacrifices of others to cultivate a spirit of humility and gratefulness.
 
The Gift of the Past
 
We are always moving forward in our minds to the next day, to the next week, or the next task at hand. It isn’t very often that we are quiet with our thoughts and reflect on the freedom we have because of the sacrifices of others. As we take time to enjoy fellowship with friends and family this Christmas, reflect on the gift of freedom and the ultimate sacrifices of those who have served in The United States Armed Forces.
 
General Elton Berry, Military Liaison for Mississippi Community Education Center’s Families First for Mississippi program, said, “We have to make a conscious effort that there are veterans and heroes among us that have paid such physical and emotional prices for our freedom. These are soldiers, young men and young women that are such patriots. Sometimes you have to look behind you to reflect on the valuable lessons that have learned. Thank God that we have had Americans who have always stepped forward and always will. That is the uniqueness of this country, and of our military and people.”
 
The Gift of the Present
 
We don't like to get serious, but the truth is that today is all you really have. The little one marveling at Christmas lights, the special someone beside you on the car ride to a holiday party, and the parents sitting across from you at the dining room table for a holiday meal will one day not be with you. Life is fleeting and can be truly beautiful, so be present this holiday season. Be present in conversations; be present and share kind words, hugs and laughter. Hold on dearly to the memories in your mind's eye with those you love because today is a treasure waiting to be fully experienced distraction free.
 
The Gift of Peace
 
The beauty of Christmas is that the gift isn’t just for this holiday or a season. The gift of Christmas is for young to old, rich to poor, and greatest to the least of these that stays with us long after the holiday decorations are packed away in boxes. Christmas is about the gift of peace and God’s unending presence given to us all. For Emmanuel “God with us” - meets us no matter where we find ourselves in this journey of life during this Christmas season. Through happiness and hardship, God is with us always.
 
As we close the last year of this decade, approach Christmas with a spirit of humility and gratefulness. We all have been given so very much, those nontangible gifts that cannot be wrapped in tinsel or beautifully wrapped boxes: the gift freedom through the sacrifices of those in the United States Armed Forces, the gift of the present moments to make memories with loved ones, and the ultimate gift of salvation and peace through the Christ of Christmas.

© 2016 by The Mississippi Community Education Center  

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Mississippi Community Education Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, or age in the administration of any of its programs or in the employment of any staff.