Why We Celebrate

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A Nativity adorns a front yard in Newport Beach, as the city prepares for Christmas on Sunday. Photo by Jim Collins

“Thanks be to God for His unspeakable Gift –





            precious beyond words.”

– Lois Lebar

Christmas is only two days away. Forty-eight hours, and the clock is ticking.

Tick tock.

This is the perfect time to talk about thankfulness.

Yes, we celebrated Thanksgiving last month, and thoughts of pilgrims and pumpkin pie are all in the past, replaced by racing thoughts about people, parties and presents.

Tick tock.

But thanksgiving, or giving thanks, is more than a day that comes every 12 months that we fill with food, family and fun.

Giving thanks should be a daily occurrence, an ongoing experience, an inner conversation that feels like a continuous song in your heart, sung in the key of gratitude.

The more we give thanks, the more we find things to be thankful for, and as the cycle continues and grows, it has a positive snowball effect.

In last year’s column about Thanksgiving, I hit a wrong computer key and the word ‘Thanksliving’ showed up on my screen. I stared at the word awhile, and decided it not only made sense, it was a worthy goal. Thanksliving. Living thankfully.

We have an 18-month old grandson who lives that way. He says “Thank-you” more than anybody I know. But when Declan says it, it comes out more like “Di-du.” It’s cute, and he’s cute, and his frequent “di-dus” lighten everybody’s mood.

When I put on his shoes, he says “Di-du.” If I open the door for us to walk through, he thanks me. When I clean his face, even that act is met with his unique way of giving thanks. Throughout the time I’m with him, for whatever I may do, be it giving him a snack, handing him a toy, or sharing my water.

Di-du, di-du, di-du.

Sometimes I wonder how much he really understands, because occasionally when I sneeze, he thanks me for that, too.

Declan seems to know that saying thanks is the right thing to do, he has seen that it’s the response that people respond well to, and he’s right. It must make him feel good inside, because I see a dimpled smile on his face whenever he says it. I know it makes me happy. It keeps me focused on what truly matters.

And this is the season when we need to refocus often. Especially now.

Tick tock.

We can’t stop the clock, but we can change our focus. When we feel the clock ticking and we’re tempted to wind ourselves up to go into overload, fearing that little time remains to get things done, we need to refocus, to reflect on what matters, on who matters, on what God has done.

God, the first and best gift giver. God, who began His lavish, loving giving spree in such a humble way: a baby in a manger. God’s promise of peace in the form of a person. Infancy. Deity. Divine mystery. The wonder of it all. The joy of it all. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Di-du, di-du, di-du.’

A gift given so long ago offers joy to this weary world today. Right now. Right here.

Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate, shares His gifts with us. The birthday guest of honor wants to be your friend for life, in life, giving life. The present of His presence with us, in us, is a gift that keeps on giving. Emmanuel. God with us. We are never alone.

His is the love that can thaw the coldness of the world, and warm the ache in your heart.

Wrapped in Christmas is peace beyond understanding; joy despite circumstances; hope for hurts; healing for pain; growth from grief; rebuilding from rubble, strength for challenges; comfort in loneliness; wisdom for decisions; security in the unknown; patience in the process; and joy in the journey.

Forgiveness, second chances, and purpose in life. And more. Much more. Eternally more.

No matter what your circumstances, that is cause for celebration.

Indescribable. Incomparable. Precious beyond words.

Let the light of those truths shine on the darkness of your “bah-humbugs,” and be transformed.

Di-du, di-du, di-du.

Let your thankfulness burn deeply, like a glowing fire that warms and brightens all around, sending out an inviting aroma and glow of hope.

Thanks be to God for His incomparable gift.


All powerful





Come let us adore Him.


Cindy can be reached at [email protected].

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