Well, we are smack dab in the middle of the Thanksgiving to Christmas sprint and it definitely feels like it. From last minute shopping (thank you online retailers) to upcoming parties and visitors, the season feels less and less nostalgic and more and more frantic. Sometimes it can feel like all we are doing is preparing and waiting for Christmas to arrive so that we can finally stop the frenetic pace, and that, in my opinion, robs us of most of what makes this season special. I know that I have found myself stressing out about getting gifts purchased in time to be shipped, making sure that I have blocked the right days on the schedule to ensure that we keep all of the engagements that arise, etc. In doing that, though, I have also found myself forgetting about the joy of the season, sacrificing the message of Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men, and replacing it with, Please Let Me Get All This Done and Don’t Let That Jerk Take My Parking Place.
You would think a day of Thanksgiving would kick off a month of reflecting on the reason we celebrate the Christmas season. I know for me, part of the issue is that reflection requires intention. To reflect on the season means that you have to intentionally take time out of your day to think about why we celebrate and why, in particular, it is special to you, and, frankly, we all get so wrapped up in the day to day, minute to minute aspects of life that we just don’t think about it. With our always online lives, we have so much entertainment and access to distractions that we rarely find ourselves alone with our thoughts, and I really think we have forgotten the art of taking time each day for quiet reflection, meditation, prayer, or the like. Personally, when schedules get packed and time gets short, I find myself shortchanging these times or skipping them entirely, using the excuse that I just don’t have the time “right now” and that I’ll get to it when the schedule eases up. In reality, though, there is never an abundance of time, so I have started to take a different tack and look at my quiet times as I do my exercise times. Times that are priorities because they put me in the right physical, mental and emotional state to be at my best. That means the schedule has to change and sometimes means that I don’t get other things done. What is interesting, though, is that the more at peace I am, the more I am able to discern which things don’t need to be done, and the more able I am to tackle and complete the things that have to be done.
So, as you join me at the halfway point in this holiday season, I’d like to challenge you to intentionally make time each day to quiet yourself and reflect on what the season means in general and specifically to you in your life…no phones, no tablets, no other distractions, just quiet. It’ll definitely make the season Merry and Bright. Have a great week!