Its the season of advent and the story of the birth of Jesus Christ is all around us. Yet, can you hear it beyond the noise of rushed shoppers? What do you hear this holiday season? Last Sunday my pastor spoke about the shepherds and wise men that were the first to hear of Jesus' birth. He pointed out how the shepherds and wise men not only heard but they HEARD and then they came. Do you know what I mean? I'm sure you've told your husband something that he's heard, but doesn't mean he actually HEARD it or registered it and then did something about it.

As I listened to Pastor John, I thought about what do I hear this holiday season? What do you HEAR this holiday season? Beyond the hustle and bustle of shopping and the noise of commercials telling us about sales, what do you hear? Another way to think about it, how are you embracing the spirit of the holidays? How are you remembering the importance of this holiday and why we came to celebrate it?

Recently, I had the opportunity to really hear and see and experience the true meaning of this season. I volunteered to take Santa photos for Rest Stop (a community group where volunteers allow parents with special needs children to take a break and drop their kids off for the evening).

I admit, this was something that put me completely out of my element. I had never done Santa photos, yet alone for a group of special needs children. When I arrived, the Santa set up wasn't Christmas-y at all. Didn't they get it? Christmas is about the trees, and the lights and....I wasn't hearing what it was about at all. However, as the kids began arriving, I felt a shift and I began to HEAR.

This young lady stood out to me the most. She's been coming to see Santa for years, but has never sat in his lap. Each year she would get closer and closer.  I loved watching her as she asked numerous questions and tried to decide if she would sit on Santa's lap or not. And Santa, he had the perfect answer for each question.

What do you HEAR? Santa Photos,She spent the evening with Santa, taking breaks to allow the other children to take their turns. It was a special journey of her and Santa. They even went on a little walk together.What do you HEAR? Santa Photos,After all the kids had sat in Santa's lap and told him what they hoped to find under their tree, something special happened. She sat on the edge of the chair, next to Santa. It was progress! And it was beautiful. They read a story together....What do you HEAR? Santa Photos,And then, she decided it would be okay to sit on Santa's lap. It was so sweet and so special as it was just Santa, this young lady, Derek (my helper for the evening) and myself in this room, experiencing this moment.

What do you HEAR? Santa Photos,

I feel so blessed that I was able to capture this moment (and many others)  while her parents took time for themselves. I feel so blessed that I was able to see and hear the meaning of Christmas and the holidays, reminded about the magic of the season, not just the hustle and bustle that is so loud this time of year.

I invite you to take a moment and HEAR what Christmas is all about. Something special stand out? I would love to hear about it.

Merry Christmas!

*Neyssa*

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