Jenae D. Thompson: this christmas

I have met and gotten closer to several people who now have permanent residency in my heart…because of my family’s take on Christmas. In my household, Christmas is about more than decorations, yummy treats and opening presents (which are all awesome things we pine for year-round, let’s be honest); and it even goes deeper than a textbook celebration of Christ Jesus.

Our purpose is warmth and love and being a tangible vessel of both of those elements.

And because of my family’s insistence upon and downright NEED to do so, there has almost always been at least one not-so familiar face at our annual Christmas Morning Breakfast for the past several years.

It’s interesting…As a woman of faith, who has grown up in a household of faith, I find that the holiday season is that one sneaky time of year when people celebrate, evaluate and practice Agape love (the sacrificial kind of love), even without knowing they are. It’s the one time of year when, world-wide, people make it priority to show love and be love and GIVE love in many forms. It’s the one time of year when we are willing to step outside of ourselves and our circumstances to elevate another person, and even the time when people who do not normally adhere to or even acknowledge a higher power take a moment to bow their heads and whisper “thank you”. It’s that “hide the vegetablesin the meal, so the childrenget all their nutrients” viewpoint that makes my all-time favorite Christmas song..well… my all-time favorite Christmas song!

Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” at first listen sounds like a Christmas song for lovers; a blossoming couple perhaps sharing their first special holiday and finding themselves falling deeper in love via the magic of the season, but from the moment I hear that first line: “Hang all the mistletoe; I’m gonna get to know you better—this Christmas..”, I am immediately teleported to my family’s living room amongst the hubbub and music, seeking out that one not-so-familiar face and thinkingjust that…“I’m going to get to know you better;”… and thinking the same of my family members as well. When we share our Christmas experiences, a hot meal, and God’s word with one other, I learn so much about the people closest to me and I feel how highly favored, blessed and protected we are--and it makes me so happy and excited to share that with people who may not have or have never had that for themselves.

“Hang all the mistletoe I'm gonna get to know you better This Christmas And as we trim the tree How much fun it's gonna be together This Christmas

Fireside is blazing bright We're caroling through the night And this Christmas, will be A very special Christmas, for me

Presents and cards are here My world is filled with cheer and you This Christmas And as I look around Your eyes outshine the town, they do This Christmas

Merry Christmas Shake a hand, shake a hand now Wish your brother 'Merry Christmas!' All over the land”

–Donny Hathaway, 1970 Shake a hand, shake a hand now… ☺

Jenae Thompson is an L.A. native singer/actress who studied Theatre Arts and English with a Creative Writing emphasis at Azusa Pacific University and Dance at Citrus College. She has had the honor and privilege of working theatrically for eight years, five of which have been professional musical theatre productions across the U.S.; including two wonderful years touring with The American Family Theatre for Youth as "Cinderella" and various characters. She has been writing since the age of four-years-old. All glory to her Father in Heaven, and special thanks to her loving, ridiculous family and her "Sunbeam" Ms. Renna for this opportunity.