I love Christmastime. This year I’m excited to escape up to the old Bavarian town of Leavenworth, Wash., where we’ve rented a cabin for both sides of the family to come and reconnect with each other.
It’s gorgeous up there and I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time now. More than that, I’m really excited that both Megan-Kate’s and my family will be able to gather together for the holidays. With my family from Pennsylvania and hers from Washington, they’ve only met each other a few times, the first time being at our wedding.
There’s just so much to be thankful for this season. I’m thankful for Megan-Kate and our love for each other. I’m thankful for our farm and the ways God has blessed us in our efforts on it. I’m thankful that our family and friends are all healthy and happy this time of year.
I’m thankful for times to unplug and get away from all the distractions of our world. Recently, my father-in-law and I took a hunting trip out in the mountains of Montana, where there was no cell phone coverage. It was so nice to be able to connect with him and enjoy the majesty of God’s creation. The scope and beauty of the mountains and the wildlife was just spectacular.
It’s important to unplug every once in awhile. I look for opportunities to do so often. In our society we have almost constant distractions, with the chance to interact with millions of people daily. Sometimes the noise around us gets so loud that we miss the little things and forget to be present in each moment we’re given. People are often so busy snapping pictures of what they’re doing or where they are that they miss experiencing the beauty of it with their own eyes; instead they only see an imitation of it through a lens. And more often than not, they forget to go back and enjoy the photo they just had to take. Think how much greater your memories can be when you actually stop to watch with your own eyes and take in the moment!
More than that, we need to quiet our minds and unplug because God’s voice is usually a whisper. When we’re too distracted to listen, we can’t focus on what the Spirit may be leading us to.
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” — Romans 8:14
I’m thankful for memories. There was the time when I was on the Reds in 2012-13 and we clinched the playoffs, or the time with the Diamondbacks when all our hard work throughout the season culminated in our making the wildcard. I remember the day I married Megan-Kate, our honeymoon, the day we bought our first house, and that All-Star break trip we took to the middle of nowhere Ohio. I remember the day I was first called up to the big leagues, and immediately after when I was able to call my parents and tell them the news.
Memories are a gift.
This time of year is a great time to make new memories with friends and family — memories that last. Being able to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ is all the more sweet when you can celebrate with those you love the most, showing gratitude for all God has blessed you with.
— J.J. Hoover, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher
J.J. Hoover is a pitcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.