Finding My Bliss – Experiencing the True Meaning of Christmas This Season

A note about the image above – I realize it does not represent the “true meaning” of the season, but it’s one my favorite pictures I took at the Raleigh Christmas Parade and since that makes this post, that’s why it’s the featured image. Bear with me and read on. 🙂

For me, the Christmas season actually starts before Thanksgiving with the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade on the Saturday before the holiday. I absolutely LOVE our big city parade. Organized by the good folks at the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, it truly has become a Triangle-wide parade showcasing the best of what this region of the state and country has to offer.

Broughton High Marching Band Raleigh Christmas Parade 2013 Lisa Sullivan

Broughton HIgh School Marching Band – 2013

I first started attending the parade about four years ago. While we had been living here for the four years prior, I had never attended. Didn’t really think it was “all that” at the time. Truth be told, the first year I attended I wasn’t all that impressed with it either. Too many “generic” floats all made the same with banners slapped on indicating what business sponsored it and then of course, people representing that business sitting on it and waving to the crowds. Whoopee! Not much fun in that. But, I gave it another try the next year with friends and had a blast. The following year, I went by myself and again, I still had a blast. It gets better and better every year! The floats get more creative. I love the marching bands – for me, that’s probably my favorite part. Of course, the parade ends with Santa’s arrival on his sleigh signalling the start of the holiday season and it brings a smile to my face every time. I love our parade!

But, this isn’t how I found my bliss in the holiday season this year.

If you remember (or if you read) at the beginning of 2013, I said my resolution this year was to find my bliss and I did several times with a trip to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina; attending numerous Scotty McCreery concerts; a vacation on a clear lake in Maine in the summer; a weekend in the OBX on Labor Day. I found my bliss.

Garner Christmas Parade 2013 Lisa Sullivan

Lauren, Kadyn, and myself at the Garner Christmas Parade 2013.

This holiday season I decided to forgo all the networking events I could’ve attended – the annual Merry Mingle, the RPRS holiday get together, whatever event in town that was for a good cause (many of them are) and promised a little mixing and mingling with the Triangle’s finest. While I absolutely LOVE my community and the peeps that are in it, with only three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation, I decided I’d rather spend the season sharing it with those closest to me.

I attended the Garner Christmas Parade with my friend Lauren and her daughter Kadyn, but not before a scrumptious breakfast at Garner’s BEST mom & pop restaurant – Angie’s – and swinging on the swings at the playground. What FUN and definitely blissful.

That same night my former colleagues from NBC 17, now great friends and I went to dinner at Margaux‘s in North Raleigh. It was Girls Night Out with lots of laughter, stories, and even a Dirty Santa exchange. These are some of the best ladies I know and I’m privileged to call my friends. Bliss.

NBC17 CCL GNO Christmas 2013 Lisa Sullivan

NBC17 CCL Girl’s Night Out with (seated l-r) Ashley Sue, Maryann, me, Courtney and (standing l-r) Jessica and Teran at Margaux’s Restaurant in Raleigh. 2013.

Probably one of the most memorable things I did this holiday season was attend the First Baptist Church of Garner’s Christmas program. It was SO GOOD. Beth Hunnicut, Minister of Music, and her team did an outstanding job with telling the story of Christmas with a modern twist set in a coffee shop. The soloists and choir were phenomenal, the story within the story was wonderful, and the evening left me truly in the Christmas spirit. I will never miss another FBC Garner program again! 😉

Last night, my husband and I watched the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” on regular television, commercials and all. We drank margaritas and ate chips and salsa. You would’ve thought we were celebrating a football win or something. But, that’s what we did! In the quiet of our home we watched probably the best holiday-themed movie ever. I cried at the end. I always do. Bliss.

This was my way of celebrating the true meaning of the season – just soaking it in, spending it with those I cherish. More reflecting; less busyness. Perfect. Blissful.

As the days until Christmas dwindle, for the first time in many years I am not stressed by the need to finish shopping (though I have a few more gifts to buy and wrap) or the fact that I have a few chores to complete before family time begins. In fact, I am relaxed. God has given me an amazing sense of peace this year. It’s as if He is telling me to stop rush, rush, rushing, and instead take in the Reason for the season. Find the joy. Find my bliss.

OK, God, I’m listening.

I wish you and yours a holiday filled with the joys and celebrations the season brings reminding you of the true spirit of it in the birth of Jesus Christ – THE Reason for the season. May you reflect on why we celebrate this glorious time of year. May YOU find your bliss.

Merry Christmas!

Images above all by me, Lisa Sullivan. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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