Are you pulling out all the best china, crystal and linens in preparation for Thanksgiving? Or maybe you are loading the car, having the oil checked, and getting ready for that drive “over the river and through the woods”? Maybe you have the blues because this is the “first” holiday without certain friends or loved ones? Is it possible that you are a soldier or missionary on first deployment far from home and familiar traditions?
No matter what your situation might be, I want to wish you a “Happy Thanksgiving” and let you know that, no matter where or who you are, I will be thinking about you and offering many prayers that you, and those who surround you, will be able to find the peace and joy which this approaching season embodies.
At my age, and with my family’s history, I can easily relate to the mixed emotions stirred by this time of year. I have experienced the gamut of emotions, from innocent childhood anticipation and excitement lingering deep in the recesses of the psyche, to the exhaustion brought on by self-imposed expectations, and the deep sadness which may seem to lie in ambush because that “special person” is so deeply missed.
I am going to make a suggestion for the holiday season of 2016. Make this a “Season of Less.” Yes, I have said this before, less can actually be more. Some valid questions for the “Season of Less” would be, “Does this activity, thought, or process embody the spirit of the season? Does it expand my mind, heart, or soul? Does it kindle a joy that is deeper than the more obvious surface emotions? Does it extend that type of joy to someone else?”
My hope for all my friends, family, acquaintances, and world family is that, from now until the new year, we would make a concerted effort each day to simplify the season. Here are a few suggestions. By no means is this meant to be an exhaustive list. Let the notion that “less can be more” soak in and then act upon that desire to be an agent of simplicity.
- Be less critical of those who don’t share your “Jingle Bell” enthusiasm or be less harsh on yourself whenever you are not in a “holiday mood.”
- Be less judgmental of those who have differing beliefs about this season.
- Refuse to take insult if someone scowls when you wish them a “Merry Christmas” and refuse be cranky when someone wishes you “Happy Holidays.”
- Make an effort to simplify your holiday decorations. In other words, do you really need all those Griswoldesque lighted displays in your yard and on your roof? The original reason for this holiday season began in simple surroundings.
- Visit a place you consider “holy” or “sacred” and offer gratitude for that place.
- Spend a few moments in quiet gratitude for all your memories (the good and not-so-good).
- Have a good cry over a bad memory and then let it go!
- Seek someone’s forgiveness for an error you have made. If they won’t forgive, let that go!
- Watch your favorite holiday movie with friends, this is NOT “wasting time.”
- Send greetings to your friends in January. It will free up some holiday time and your greetings will really stand out from the rest.
- Bake less cookies and use the time to call someone you have not spoken to in over a year.
- Take a one day vacation from all news sources. You may find this so uplifting you will want to extend that vacation.
- Spend one day free of your computer and/or cell phone. Notice if you have any “withdrawal” symptoms which may indicate you are flirting with a technological addiction.
- Be on the watch for critical speech. Criticize less and praise more.
- There’s no need for a gratitude LIST. Just think of ONE thing each day that brings you joy.
- Spend less.
- Have one less cookie.
- Have one less drink.
May each day of this holiday season be filled to the brim with MORE hope, joy, kindness, love, patience, and peace, because you have committed to make it a “Season of Less.”