My alternative Christmas in the tropics. Yes, my tree IS made of PINK tinsel and surrounded at the base by coral and sea shells. Hey, cut me a little slack, I am an artist, after all.

Here in Florida, all the traditional Christmas trimmings are present, but fake snow and hot cocoa seem a bit seasonally anti-climactic when it's still in the 80's. The funny and beautiful thing about celebrating for the first time in a tropical climate, is that you begin to realize that much of what Christmas is made out to be is not at all important. Living here and celebrating Christmas just serves to accentuate and deepen the real reason for Christmas. Don't get me wrong - I am all for Christmas and even the more kitschy and traditional trappings that go with it - they're fun. However, for me personally, there is something so much more precious and sacred about this day I celebrate. If you take away all the gifts, the decorations, the traditions, the music and the food, there is really nothing left TO "celebrate". Unless, of course, you are celebrating because the essence of Christmas to you is a very real person and not things. I am celebrating the day my Saviour set aside all that He had in heaven with God and humbled Himself to come to this earth as a tiny, dependent baby and live a very difficult life that had at it's end a most torturous and humiliating death, followed by a glorious resurrection. All because He loved and valued all of us enough to want to give us this gift of being restored to a relationship with our Father and Creator and have a real purpose in life greater than just living our lives for ourselves. So, here in Florida, even amongst all the non-traditional Christmas beauty, I am reminded that there is a greater gift I possess. If you take everything else away, the fact that Jesus has come to be not only my Saviour, but my best friend, comfort, purpose and joy, everyday of the year AND throughout my entire life is the real reason I celebrate Christmas. Regardless of whatever reasons you have for celebrating or not celebrating Christmas, I wish you ALL love, joy and enduring peace this Christmas and in the New Year!