Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

A Reason To Celebrate

Another is about to end. It has been another year of living the lives we were destined to be. It’s a year jaded with a mixture of happiness and sadness, of success and failure, of loss and gain, of joy and tears, of love and heart breaks, of dreams reached, of prayers answered, of goals achieved, of battles won, of trials that made us stronger and better individuals.

Whatever journeys we had, just the thought that we are still here, standing and ready to face another year, is more than a reason to celebrate and be thankful for another year of earthly existence.

Last weekend , my family and I were at the Festival Of Lights at the Moody Gardens in Galveston Island. It was in itself a celebration of the bright optimism and happiness that the Holiday brings. The lights were shaped in so many forms, some to tell a story while others to bring about awe and wonder. Overall, the lights were beautiful. They bring about a sense of joy and hope.

Celebrating Another Year Of Journey

Some parts of this year had been rough and stormy for my family. We faced some economic challenges that at one point made me say to my wife, “I’m just tired.” I can relate to what most Americans feel today from the uncertainty of a job, to the never-ending bills, to the financial stress of keeping an undervalued property. It was a tough year but having to survive it all calls for a celebration, at least for me and my wife.

Against fears and uncertainties, my wife and I persevered. With love, prayers and support of family, we slowly overcome each stone and obstacle. As Christmas closely reach its much awaited day of celebration, a ray of light is slowly replacing the gloom that clouded my world for the past few weeks. In my heart, I know that the miracle I prayed for will come like a gift from heaven on Christmas Day.

Celebrating The Story Of Christmas 

I remember the “ Story of Christmas ” being told to me by my parents year after year during the Holiday season. It is a story of the struggles of the Holy family against the harsh realities of life. At the time when the mother of the chosen Saviour was to give birth, everyone rejected them. They were poor , broke and wandering in the cold.

Finally, a man took pity and offered his stable where he kept his animals. It is in this most humbling of all places that an infant was born. This infant would one day be the light of the world. What struck me the most in this story was that when at the time when the Holy family had nothing materially, they actually had everything because they had each other . It was faith and love that sustained them in their lowest moment.

As the couple looked at their son’s face, the baby smiled. At that very instant, all forms of hardship were replaced by pure joy. A joy that only comes in knowing you are blessed with a family that loves you no matter what.

Celebrating Love And Our Families 

Several light formations were depicting the different kind of families. In most of them, there were the father , mother and the offspring. The images reminded me that this is a season to celebrate our friends and family who throughout the years had been a significant part of our lives. At the time when I felt empty and lost, it was the love of my wife and son that sustained me during those troubled times.

This is the season to celebrate the love we experienced and shared for this year. This is the time to thank those people who loved us despite of. This is the time for me to celebrate the two people who inspired me everyday, my wife and son.

Celebrating The Holidays

As the season turned festive, with colors red, green and gold dominating the theme of every decor, we can’t help but feel the spirit of giving. As the lights glistened, so are our hearts.

The Holidays bring about the “Santa” in us. Most are in a cheerful mood to give presents and make others happy. This is a time that most kids look forward to. I used to count the days when I can get my present under my parent’s Christmas tree. Now, I see the same excitement in my son’s eyes as he eagerly waits for his “Santa” wish list to come true.

Last year on Christmas Day, my son was overjoyed that Santa ate half of the cookie he left for him close to the fireplace before he went to bed. He then looked under the fireplace wondering how Santa went through the narrow opening.

After admiring the lights , my wife helped my son make some delicious S’mores. The warmth of the fire felt so good and comforting on a cold Winter night.

Celebrating Childhood And The Happiness It Brings

Kids laughter filled the air as they made snowballs  and throw it to each other. My son’s face glowed so happily. If there’s one thing that he loves to do, that’s playing with other children. I would catch him looking at me with a “naughty smile” before releasing the snowballs in the air.

As we all get busy for the holidays, let us not forget that it’s not about how expensive the gifts are but on how much thought and heart we put into it.

One day, my wife asked me, “What do you want for Christmas?” I replied, “I just want peace of mind and happiness.” She looked at me quietly for a few seconds then smiled. I knew she wished for the same.

Happy Holidays to everyone. What is your reason for celebrating?

About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
This entry was posted in 31 Days Of Christmas, Events, family, Inspiration, Life, photography, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

  1. MOL says:

    I hope you find your peace in the coming year.

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  2. barb19 says:

    I pray that 2012 is a better one for you and your family, bringing you everything your heart desires my friend.

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  3. Connie T says:

    Those Christmas lights were great. I bet they looked beautiful in person.

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  4. Arindam says:

    You are a fighter bro. And a fighter never search reasons to celebrate. He by his own can bring lots of reason for himself and his family to celebrate. May next year will bring to you, lots more reasons to celebrate. Celebrate this season with, colors of joy happiness, success, determination, love, care & support of your family. For me life itself is the biggest reason to celebrate.

    Once again a super and thought provoking post with added attraction of your beautiful pics. :)

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    • Thank for the words so comfort and optimism. Your words I wish to share for all, “Celebrate this season with, colors of joy happiness, success, determination, love, care & support of your family. For me life itself is the biggest reason to celebrate.” Well said Bro. Wishing you and your family all the wonderful blessing today and everyday.

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  5. ristinw says:

    I love the red Christmas Tree! It is so warm. I guess the reason to celebrate Christmas is because it is the happiest days in the year! Give and take presents, Santa Claus and the deers and the beautiful Christmas carols! ^^

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    • Christmas to me is about celebrating with your family. The colors and the decorations makes it really fun but in the end what matters is we are around the people we love. Kids though look forward for their toy presents. The red Christmas Tree is made of potted Poinsettias layered and stacked together. it’s amazing. Happy Holidays my friend….

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  6. Barb says:

    I’m sending prayers up for you. Thanks for sharing your hope and love.

    And I really liked the “naughty smile.” I want to wear one of those more often.
    Hugs

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    • Thank you Barb. Prayers are powerful. I hope that one day, I can make a post that will say, ” A Miracle Happened.” I believe it happens everyday when we least expect it. Thank you for the warm thoughts and more importantly , the prayers. Happy Holidays.Wishing you and your family peace , joy and peace .

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  7. eof737 says:

    I agree with you that it has been a challenging year for many… Yet, through it all, we have kept our hopeful and prayerful spirits up… God is good all the time! May your celebrations continue to grow abundant now and into the next year. Blessings to you and yours. :-)
    E

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    • Love this thoughts, ” God is good all the time!” He is and will always will be. There is a song I used to sing in college with the same words. It raised my spirits up during times of trials and tests. I wish I can remember the rest of the words. Happy Holidays to you and your wonderful family, holidays filled with abundant joy, love and inner peace.

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    • Love this thought my friend, ” God is good all the time! ” He is and will always will be. From my past experiences, It’s when I’m lowest and facing challenges that he is greatest. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t deserve such goodness and mercy but he blesses me in his own time nevertheless. God bless you too and your family.

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  8. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration « Flickr Comments by FrizzText

  9. aRVee says:

    Another great post my friend. I enjoyed reading your story.

    I really like this –
    “Whatever journeys we had, just the thought that we are still here, standing and ready to face another year, is more than a reason to celebrate and be thankful for another year of earthly existence.” – very true my friend. I super agree. This is so quotable and if you don’t mind, I’ll make a graphical post on this one, of course it’ll be The Island Traveler after the open and closed quotes.

    May this Christmas brings you and your family, joy, love, peace, happiness and good health. Wishing you all the best and here’s a toast to another new year. Stay blessed my friend! :)

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  10. God is good all the time…in his time. We had a huge blessing in our family last week, one we had prayed for and came true. Stay on course in your journey and I pray hope, peace and joy may reveal themselves. 2011 started out ominously with the great earthquake in Japan, terrible storms in our country, more economic woe, another earthquake in our country, a hurricane and fires. I will be glad to put 2011 behind us. But through it all, I am glad to have found good news here on your site. Thank you for your optimism, your joy, your peace and your love. You are an amazing leader sharing good news despite the challenges.

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    • Thank you Georgette. Love this comment a lot. So much heartfelt thoughts that gives me so much encouragement. I noticed too how 2011 had been surrounded with so much pain and disasters. I may have my own personal problems but it is nothing compared to what others had suffered and perhaps still suffering from. Yes, the world and its people needs prayers and healing. It needs light and hope that things will be better for 2012. Just the mere fact we are all still here is more than enough to celebrate 2011. God bless you and your family always.

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  11. cocomino says:

    Very inspired post. I like your sense and writing. You attract many people because of your pure heart. Have a great Christmas. :smile:

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    • Thank you. It was hard to make this post, now I’m glad that I did. Sometimes real life situations can be painful and somehow letting others know how we faced those trials helps them relate how human we are with our own battles to win. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  12. Thanks for this lovely peek at the light displays in Galveston! So much better than those I showed from Hot Springs. Here, folks are scared to show the Holy family or even to imply any type of one-dad-one-mom-plus-baby family. I am so glad you had such a more realistic experience and so glad you bothered to share it!

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    • Thank you for sharing. I grew up knowing the “Holy” family and how Christmas was born. Every year, my parents would bring me and my siblings to see the new born Jesus. It was and still is a magical moment of our faith. I miss them now and I just hope I can share the same amazing experience to my son. Merry Christmas . May you and your family be blessed with joy , peace and love for always.

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  13. RVingGirl says:

    “By His stripes, you are healed”
    Jesus took our pain, suffering and illness upon His shoulders, as He faced death for us. He died so that we may live. He wants us to cast ALL our cares on Him.
    Keep trusting God.

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    • Your words are like heaven sent, consoling the aches of my weary heart. Thank you and God bless you for your kindness. I wish more people could read these inspiring comments from the different blogger friends because I know my story and the challenging path I went through is something that a lot of people face nowadays. They all need to feel hope and encouragement in their hearts more that it’s the Holiday season. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you.

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  14. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge : Celebration « Cheryl Andrews

  15. mj monaghan says:

    Really well-written post!

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  16. My reasons for celebrating are many, but first and foremost is my family, the ones with whom I share this apartment and the ones up in Oregon. I can’t wait to meet my new nephew, and the little niece soon to reach this world!

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    • Family is and always will be a reason to celebrate. There are times that it’s not as perfect as we dream it to be but in the end, families who truly love us will be there no matter what. Wishing you and your family all the blessings Holiday season and everyday…..Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration « Thirdhandart's Weblog

  18. Northern Narratives says:

    I enjoyed your post and the beautiful photos. I think you may be surprised by all the blessings you receive in 2012 :)

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    • I do feel blessed despite of what others may say as “misfortune.” I’m blessed because no matter what, God gave me a son and wife that loves me and a life that I always be grateful for . The gift of health alone is more than enough to be thankful for and for keeping us all safe from harms way. Thank you. Wishing you and your family the best of the Holidays….

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  19. Fox@n says:

    I <3 your pics.
    Love the santa on a camel.
    Great Post.

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  20. I just LOVE Christmas lights, so these photos definitely made me smile. And that Christmas tree looks absolutely amazing. You’ve definitely inspired me with your photos today. I hope you enjoy the rest of the day

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  21. Beautiful lights!!

    for me the reason to celebrate is just simply Jesus!

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    • Jesus and his birth is the reason why Christmas started, in its purest form, Christmas is a day we are given a second chance, a second hope, a rebirth of of our faith and that someone will come and save us from us and those around us. I remember at the start of the lights show that there was a a single star…..then the 3 kings….then the stable with the Holy family. The single star shone brightly giving a reason for me to hope that better things are coming our way. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  22. jakesprinter says:

    Great Entry my friend for this week challenge Peace to you always :)

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  23. john tugano says:

    very nice story my friend.I believe that our family is the most meaningful treasure we have in this world.We may not have finer things in life still we have someone to cling for love,faith and courage and that’s our Family.No matter how poor we are,broke or devastated of the rude happenings around us still there they are willing to support and love us unconditionally.”Family” is the real meaning of Christmas..

    I wish you a bountiful 2012 bro,I know thare are lots of blessings to come and that calls for a celebration..Your photos are great I can really feel the Cristmas spirit..Advance Merry Christmas=)

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    • ”Family” is the real meaning of Christmas… This sums up why Christmas despite of what happened in 2011 is worth celebrating. It’s a time to celebrate love among families. It doesn’t matter who we do it as long as we have someone to share it with. Beautiful comment from the heart. Thank you. Bro, wishing you and your family all the wonderful blessings for the Holidays.

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  24. thirdhandart says:

    The Christmas lights are beautiful and the snow is amazing! May 2012 bring optimism, peace of mind and happiness to you and your lovely family. You deserve it as your optimistic attitude always inspires me to keep going. Thank you very much! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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    • Thank you my friend. Generous and kind thoughts as always. I wish for us all that , “May 2012 bring optimism, peace of mind and happiness to you and your lovely family.” We all need to have this in our lives. The best gifts are those that can’t be bought because it only comes via the grace of God and his blessings for us. It also comes from embracing this beautiful gifts in our heart and living them day after day. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family. May the New Year bring you all your heart’s dreams.

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  25. Beautifully said IT. Just being here at this very moment is a time to celebrate! Each experience is an opportunity for personal growth (even the negative ones). I admire how you choose to focus on your many blessings. After all, why dwell on the negative when there is so much to give thanks for? Also, I love how you are not afraid to share your emotions. There is so much to be said for that. Nonetheless, I also love your festive photos. I can relate to the photos of the palm trees. It’s definitely part of our landscape all year long here in Florida. I guess you could say that it’s a tropical Christmas. Santa delivers presents here via surfboard! Ha! Ha! By the way, your son must have loved making snowballs. That sounds like a blast! The joy that he brings you and your wife must truly be a blessing. I wish you and your family the Merriest Christmas ever filled with everlasting happiness. :)

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    • My friend, another comment that touched my heart today in the most meaningful and inspiring way. Thank you so much for the generosity and thoughtfulness. Love this words, “After all, why dwell on the negative when there is so much to give thanks for?” So very true. Recently, a catastrophic devastated my country in the Southern part and killed a lot of people. So many lost their home and means of income. So many will have nothing material for Christmas. Yes, there is so much to thank in my life and my problem is but a tiny speck when compared to others. In all of these though one thing comes as a common factor during times of crisis, it’s our family and their love for us, and a God who hears and blesses us in so many ways. Merry Christmas to you and your family. May the Lord bless you and your love ones abundantly, always….

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  26. Sony Fugaban says:

    The air I breathe gives me a reason to celebrate. And, of course, my family by my side! Cheers to that, Bro!

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  27. Madman says:

    I spent a delightful moment reading through your Celebrations post. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!
    Merry Christmas from Switzerland,
    – Pierre

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  28. What beautiful memories you are making.

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    • They are….it’s amazing though that it is both a mixture of joy and sadness, good days and stressful ones…but it’s life and we should celebrate them no matter what. And for our kids we need to let them see Christmas as happy event. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  29. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration « Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond…

  30. sami116 says:

    Great photos, must have been a terrific experience witnessing all these in person.

    And Merry Christmas and may you have a prosperous new year :)

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    • Thank you. It was so fun we came back this Saturday with our friends kids. It was packed though since it’s already the week before Christmas. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a bountiful New Year.

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  31. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration… | Mirth and Motivation

  32. munchow says:

    It’s indeed been a tough year for many around the whole world. But it holds everything from joy and happiness to hardship. Thanks for your thoughts, and I particularly caught the way you describe the struggle of life: Trials make us stronger and better individuals. Beautifully said. But now it’s time for celebration. And for me Christmas is the time for the kids more than anything. And to celebrate together with the family. Thanks for a thoughtful post and happy holidays to you and your family.

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    • Yes I agree as well. Christmas is for kids and for families that we cherish in our lives. Gifts and food shared with a loving company is what warms up the Christmas spirit. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you and your family the joys of Christmas and a blessed New Year.

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  33. Your article gave me goosebumps. So personal and something we can all relate to, life’s troubles. Though, what you have truly shared is the silver lining, the hope…the light that is our strength and focus. I loved your photographs and your insights. Merry Christmas.

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    • It was hard to share something this personal but I believe it was part of why I chose to celebrate this event with my family. Despite of everything, we are all still here, standing strong, surrounded by family and friends who love us but more importantly of a God who answers our prayers. Wishing you and your family the happiness this season brings and everyday. Have an awesome New Year…

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  34. viviene says:

    Jesus’ birth – the reason for the season!

    Nice photos!

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    • So right. The day he is born is the day we know we are given a second chance to be saved. Sadly a lot of us forgot that and why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Well with each year of his birth, there’s hope in faith. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and your loves ones.

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  35. Patti Kuche says:

    Wishing you peace, fortitude, continuing goodwill and so much more not just for Christmas but for every step of the way!

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  36. Arindam says:

    IT i am waiting to see, what are you going to post as this week’s photo challenge? :)

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  37. yen says:

    I celebrate in thanksgiving for the best gift ever this Christmas: Jesus Christ – God with us! I rejoice with you and your family, Sir, for that ray of light and hope you wrote about. God is a miracle-working God and I’m sure He’ll make all things work for the good of those who love Him.:) Merry Christmas to you and your family and may your home be filled with the warmth of His love.

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    • “God is a miracle-working God and I’m sure He’ll make all things work for the good of those who love Him. ” Just powerful and blessed words . thank you. I used to tell myself way back in college during hard times, “God is a good God and that everything works well for those who love him. He is faithful and I know he will not abandon us during times of difficulties. Thank you for the words of inspiration and words that gives life to the heart. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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  38. jhirzel88 says:

    Well, I do think of the stories we were all told in our childhood. I know you feel fortunate to celebrate Christmas just as much as everyone else. I think celebrating it is all about being with someone. In my case, it’s my dad, since I only get to visit him several times a year. At the same time, we can’t enjoy having a Christmas where the whole family is together. Those days are long gone.

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  39. My friend, I wish that on Christmas and even on ordinary days, you and your family will get to be together. It is hard to be away from you family. Your father I’m sure misses you all but his job takes that chance to be you and your family often. I know some friends and family who are in a similar situation and it is one difficult situation for everyone. Wishing you and your family all the blessings this Christmas and everyday.

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  40. Lovely. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, its a magical time to be with children and family. Enjoy.

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  41. The Hook says:

    Beautiful shots!

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