A Real Christmas Bonus

Looks like a lot of things will be different this holiday season. Seems businesses everywhere are choosing to forgo all kinds of Christmas goodies like monetary bonuses and lavish parties. And although it’s a completely understandable choice with the instability of the economy and all, it’s leaving some feeling more despondent than ever. Apparently for those who were counting on a little extra cash or a festive get-together, the absence is just another sign of all the gloom and doom evident in the news this year

Why, just the other day while driving home from work, I felt myself slipping into that darkness. As I was making a mental list of the things I wanted to buy for my kids this year, my heart sank with the impossibility of paying for them. And when that realization hit my brain I thought, “Sure won’t be much of a Christmas this year …” As I sat there in the traffic all gloomy and morose, I let my eyes wander when suddenly I took notice of where I was on the road. I was sitting on the 360 Bridge overlooking Lake Austin and it was stunning. The lake was smooth and bright mirroring the intense orange foliage on shore. And directly above it, the crisp blue sky was layered with wisps of thin white clouds floating carelessly as if they had just surrendered to the horizon. I was taken aback by the brilliance. And my heart swelled with awe and appreciation because I realized I am so blessed to live in a gorgeous city like Austin.

And it’s then that I thought, “What a Christmas bonus to get to live in Austin. It’s so pretty here all year round.” And then suddenly as the traffic started to unfurl, I thought, “What a Christmas bonus to drive a car I love.” And almost immediately one of my favorite songs came on the radio and I thought, “Christmas bonus! I’m able to hear great music and sing along.”

See what I realized sitting the car that afternoon is that sometimes I tend to forget how much I already have when I am consumed with thinking about all that I want. And as easy as it is to live in Austin’s beauty and somehow neglect to see it – it’s just as easy to live in the midst of numerous blessings and somehow feel neglected.

So this holiday season, I’ve started looking around and thanking God for all the good things he has already done for me. Instead of dwelling on what I don’t have, I’m focusing on all I do have. And I’ve found that it’s created in me a genuine gladness and a happy heart.

Now that’s a real Christmas bonus.