“To be or not to be, that is a question”, a quote from Shakespeare spoken by Hamlet.  In that case, Hamlet was referencing if he should stand up and fight or just give up and die.  How many times have we thought how much easier it would be to give up, but then there is that thought that comes in, whether it is about a loved one, or a hope, or a need to take care of something else?  I’m sure none of us are immune to those times, it is what makes up life.  Without the lows, we could never appreciate the highs.  Without despair and desperation, we could never experience hope and gratitude.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of celebrating a birthday with an amazing woman and her family.  Her view on life is an inspiration to me.  She embraces gratitude.  I do not mean she just says it, she lives it.  As I watched all those at the family gathering, a total of four generations, it was joyous to watch their interactions.  It truly was what the Christmas Spirit is all about.  It is about loving, even with differences of opinions.  It is accepting each other with all our faults, and differences, it was understanding that each person’s view of Christmas was just as important as another’s.   Everyone was practicing just being.

As everyone gathered at the table to say grace, and have a wonderful meal of beef stroganoff, Vallarta rolls and a beautiful homemade German Chocolate cake, I saw each person in their own element.  They were not trying to impress anyone, or solve the world’s problems, it was just wonderful jumbled conversations around a dinner table.  All the family members; each had their own opinion, different political stance, different ideas and yet not one of them boasted their ideas over another.  There was such an acceptance of each other, of their different personalities and beliefs.  There was a celebration of gratitude, of just being able to spend time together.  It was warm, joyous and communicative without any angst of any kind, they were simply enjoying each other’s company.  What a moment to take in!  It was wonderful watching each person interacting with the others around them.  When the party ended, it was so sweet to see each of the cousins telling the other they would see them Christmas Eve.

The party was not quite over.  It was time to go see Christmas lights, an annual tradition.  We stopped and grabbed a scoop each of  Winter White ice cream to enjoy on the journey.   We so enjoyed each other’s company and were having a lovely time together.

As we hunted the different neighborhoods for Christmas lights, I was struck by the differences in each one of the displays we saw.  There were so many ways lights and displays were put together.  In one neighborhood, there was a horse pulling a street car for people to enjoy the lights.  There were some houses that seemed to go way overboard.  Like this family, so many different opinions and designs are wrapped up in the most amazing people, who have no problem loving each other, despite their differences.

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and everything He represents.  It’s not about presents, it’s all about celebrating Jesus, showing gratitude and love, and gathering together and enjoying each other and celebrating each other.  At this time of year, if you know someone who doesn’t have anyone, reach out to them, you may be the one person who turns things around for them, by just being there.  I think with Christmas only a few days away, it’s important to understand how much we are loved.  If we were not loved, that little baby would never have been born in a manager.  In this season, it is important to focus on the moment.  Focus on those who are around you this moment.  Enjoy and embrace this moment, and every moment after.  Be in the moment, not focused on the past, or past perceptions or perceived wrongs or worry about the future.  Those we have with us this year, we may not have with us next year or tomorrow.  Love them, be grateful for them, embrace them, build the bridges, and mend the fences.  Focus on this moment, be in the moment.  I think if we would just learn to “Be”, we would have so much less stress and we could truly enjoy each moment in our life.  We seem to always be so busy doing this and doing that, we do not take the time to enjoy the moment or the Creator of the moment.  To learn to “Be” takes practice.  It is not about learning meditation or the newest mantra, though learning to meditate can help.  It is about being aware and intentional in each moment.  Do we embrace it, enjoy it, relish it and share it, or do we rush past and miss it all together?

I’m talking about enjoying who we were created to “Be”, about being grateful for every little thing.  We all can be part of an amazingly beautiful tapestry called life.  If we can learn to just “be”, we will see so many opportunities around us to show our heart and our passion.  If we are in tune with who we are, who we have been created to be, we can embrace with gratitude the moments we are given as a gift each day and have something to give of ourselves to others.

You may have heard of the saying “seize the day”.  I would go one step further, “seize the moment”, live it to the fullest, enjoy it to the deepest.  Take a deep breath, drink in the beauty that is around you.  Seize the moment and just “Be”.