Christmas Song Favourites #5

I sort of thought of this a bit late, but leading up to Christmas I thought it would be fun to show some of my top favourite Christmas songs or carols. So over the next 5 days (including today) and counting down, I will do my top 5 favourites! These may be some newer songs I have come to love or older traditional ones.

Number 5 on my list is “Angels We Have Heard On High” by the Piano Guys!

Ever since I was first introduced to the Piano Guys, I thought they were amazing and so talented! Plus, the hymn itself has been a long time favourite carol of mine. The Piano Guys do an amazing job covering the song. They have four guys on the piano all doing different parts, using hair off a bow to make the notes, and their own percussion.

The lyrics to the song itself have always been beautiful and mysterious to me.

“Angels we have heard on high

Sweetly singing o’er the plains,

And the mountains in reply

Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!”

Plus the language Latin is a lovely language to sing in, though only a small part of the piece is sung in Latin.

So the beauty of this “Angels” song itself, along with the talent of the performers, make this rendition special and one of my favourites this year!

-A

My Christmas Traditions

Christmas is one of my favourite holidays. It is a season of mystery and hope. I also love the time of Advent leading up to Christmas. For the month of December, every Sunday a new candle would be lit for hope, peace, joy and love. For years my church would have drama performances about the birth story of Jesus as well as scripture read, and the singing of Christmas hymns and carols. It was a good memory and a special time for me growing up.

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(Found on Google).

For Christmas itself, my family never had a fixed date where we put up the tree. We simply got it up whenever we had a chance in the first few weeks of December. (And yes, our tree is a fake. However, I am not opposed to the idea of a real tree). One of my favourite parts was listening to different Christmas music as we decorated the tree as a family. We have lot of personalized ornaments, and my parents had a tradition that each year us kids would get a new ornament for the tree.

And what would Christmas be without watching the traditional movie classics! My long time favourite has always been “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Its storyline, comedy and message to appreciate your life, all make it very enjoyable! However, a newer favourite of mine is one I was given a few years ago called “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (2008). It ends up being more of a romantic Christmas movie, but is also filled with comedic moments.

In general people just tend to be a little bit nicer and caring during this time. Haha, or maybe it’s that they’re more stressed. Anyways, whatever this season means for you, I hope this Christmas you can spend time with your family and appreciate what you’ve been given.

What are your favourite Christmas traditions?

-A

P.S. You noticed that I didn’t mention food. That’s because, though my family always has had lovely Christmas meals, it’s the people I spend my Christmas with that make it so special and memorable.

“Shake It Off”

If you ask a lot of people who know me, I am sure they would tell you that I am more of a reserved person. That being said, I wonder if I am comfortable enough with who I am to be able to do things outside my normal or comfort zone.

One thing about myself, and I know I’m not alone, is that I often care too much about what other people think of me. Society loves putting labels on everyone. The “quiet” and/ or shy ones, being too loud, the young and naive, and many more.

It’s a constant struggle, but I want to drop the things that are holding me back: the labels and the lies. And I want to move on. Sometimes all the thoughts cloud my vision.

But not anymore… Now I want to “shake it off” and turn a new page. I want to act and make choices because that’s who I am. If people question me, maybe that’s not entirely a bad thing. At the end of the day I am the one who has to live with myself, not anyone else. And I want to look in the mirror at the end of each day and be satisfied and pleased with the woman I am and who I am becoming.

-A

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“Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbour. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.” ~Joel Osteen

“What really matters is how God sees me. He isn’t concerned with labels; he is concerned about the state of man’s soul.” ~Billy Graham

Getting to Know Yourself

Throughout my life I’ve often spent too much time trying to be who everyone else wanted me to be. This has left me in a place where I don’t know my true self as well as I would like.

It hasn’t helped growing up with society saying “you should be more like her”.  It’s always sending messages that we should be taller, shorter, or thinner; and defining what beautiful should look like. They try to tell us how we should act instead of letting us figure out who we are.

This year I have decided to set aside what everyone else thinks of me and who they want me to be.  Instead, I am taking time to ask myself what kind of person I want to be. Then I’m going to focus on the steps I need to take in order to achieve those goals. I want to develop friendships, grow, and live fully.

There is no point in me going through life trying to be anyone other than myself. There’s only one me and there’s only one you. And it’s my job to be fully me.

 

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Prologue

Lately I’ve noticed that there are tons of books out there on staying pure for your future spouse, how to find love, etc.

Relationships. Relationships. Relationships.

Not to say that relationships are a bad thing. They can be great! And God made us for relationship (whether that’s in the context of marriage or with family and friends). However, I believe that there’s a disturbing lack of material telling you to find yourself first. Often a “significant other” can be seen as what will complete your “missing half”. But do two broken people really make a whole?

Sometimes it feels like if you’re single, there’s a problem with you. The message seems to be that marriage should be the end goal. The problem is that not everyone gets married.

“God will bring the right one”, they say. But what if God calls me to live a life of singleness? He doesn’t promise that everyone will get married. However, I do know that He is big enough to supply all of  my needs.

Plus, there are other ways to fill our need for human interaction. You can spend time with friends, go to youth groups, or volunteer and much more!

saw this feeling of restlessness and pressure in myself and didn’t like it. I don’t want to live my life wishing all my time away. I want to live fully and accept myself for who I am now. Who knows? I may get married someday, but for now I want to be content with where I am and focus on my goals.

This is my journey to be free and live in the present with positivity and for the glory of God.

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Copyright Annika Barclay, 2014. No use without consent.