Sunday, December 15, 2013

the spirit of the season

It’s the holiday season. There are presents to be purchased, parties to attend, food to be prepared, cards to be sent. It’s no wonder that, amid the relentless songs about jingle bells, reindeer, and chestnuts, there is an undercurrent of stress.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I have the fondest of appreciation for all things Christmas, however, this year, it seems like I know an awful lot of people who are hurting, either from losses of loved ones or complete upheaval in their lives. So maybe I’m extra sensitive these days, but it got me thinking about the point of it all.

I love the pretty lights, the singing, the festive atmosphere, the red and green motif, all of it. But at the end of the day, it seems to me that this was supposed to be about the birth of Jesus.

For me personally, I like the image of reverence for a baby – that clean slate of perfection we are all born with, that potential we all come into the world with, to do and be and accomplish anything. I believe each of us was sent to save the world. Radical thinking, I know, but that is what I know in my heart to be true. And yes, it is far easier to place responsibility for the world’s messes in hands outside of our own, but then, why would we have been put here, if not to make things better? Call me crazy, but I don’t think watching football on our flat screens from the couch is what the creator of the universe had in mind for our maximum potential. (I could be wrong about that. Maybe He’s a sports fan.)

So this year, aside from my commitment to take in my favorite sappy Christmas movies and listen to every holiday CD I own, (I’m up to the letter “G” in my listening, for anyone who’s curious), I am also taking the time to reach out to people…and I urge you to do the same.

Maybe pick one person you’ve been out of touch with and call them to catch up. Maybe it’s a moment spent in prayer for someone who’s ill. Maybe instead of spending money you don’t have, write people a letter and tell them how much they mean to you and how they enrich your life. I did this a few years back, and it was not only a gift to the people who received it, but it was a gift to me to really spend time in gratitude for each person in my life.

We get so caught up in the “busy,” that we forget to look people in the eye and tell them we love them. Or to truly listen and understand with a loving heart. We harbor resentments and gloss over feelings, because they make us uncomfortable. And then, when it’s too late, we lament about what we wished we’d had the chance to say. So let’s not do that this year. Let’s, instead, take this opportunity to appreciate the moment and the people we are surrounded by, because there is no guarantee that a year from now the same people will be here.

So here’s to kindness for its own sake, peace in our hearts so that there can be peace in the world, and love expressed boldly, in the true spirit of the season. 

Thanks for stopping by.

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