Thoughts About Harried, Hallowed Christmas

Christmas is almost here.  It’s a wonderful, almost magical time of the year.  We slow down our daily toils, relax, get together with family and friends, play games, eat belt-bulging food, and share laughter wherever we go.  We rekindle relationships and remember what life is really about – it’s about love.  Yeah, I can hardly wait.

Oh my gosh!!!! Did I say it’s almost Christmas?  Relax?  Not yet.  We’ve got too many things to do.  We’ve got to go shopping – now, before the rush of the last-minute-lunatics.  We’ve got to get presents for the kids, mom, dad, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, neighbours, and the boss.  Where’s the list?  Who are we forgetting?  Have you sent out the cards?  And what about the turkey – I mean the one we’re going to eat?  What else do we need to get?  Haven’t you done any baking yet?  It’s tradition, you know.  Where are the *%&$*^)+!# Christmas lights?  How many people are coming here?  And what day do we go there? Where’s the ladder?  Why didn’t Joe return it – again?  When are the Christmas concerts?  The car needs to be serviced before then but I don’t have time and we can’t afford it.  I’ve got six weeks of work to get done in three weeks.  How many Christmas parties do we have to go to this week, and the next?  AAAHHHHCCCCHHH!!!!!!

That may be an exaggeration, yet it is the “have-to, must-do, should-go, who’s-fault” state of mind that many of us participate in at this time of year.   With all of this pressure and guilt to “get, go, do, and be,” we give away our power of choice.  It is no wonder that many people unconsciously create the cold, flu, and other stress-related sicknesses around Christmas time.

I know what it’s like.  I used to be a textbook example of Scrooge.  I resented Christmas because of all the hassles “it” created in my life.  With our mixed-farm, I “had-to” arrange for extra feed and needed supplies because some businesses would be closed for extra days.  I “had-to” organize events for organizations that I belonged to.  I “had-to” go to Christmas concerts and functions, even though I didn’t want to.  I “had to” do year-end bookkeeping.  I felt guilty because I wasn’t helping Carol with shopping and Christmas preparations.  I felt guilty because I would show up late for family gatherings or leave early to do chores.  I felt guilty because we visited one side of the family and not the other.  I felt guilty because I “should-do” this or “should-do” that – but didn’t.  I felt guilty because we couldn’t afford the presents, activities, and stuff we perceived we “needed.”

Was that a good use of my time, effort, and energy?  Was that an accountable way to live?  Was that giving and sharing love?  “No” was my answer, but I’m a slow learner and it took me a long time to figure this out.

I learned that I only needed to “think outside my barn” and choose to see, feel, hear, and do things in a different way.  I took back my power to choose, and experience the love and joy of the season.  Actually, now I savour these feelings everyday of the year.

Whether you participate in a seasonal frenzy or not, I have a challenge for you, if you choose to accept it.

My challenge is to consider and apply the following thoughts.  Try them on for size to see if they work for you, talk about them with others, and notice how you feel as you change your perceptions, attitude, and behaviour.  Here goes:

– You are the captain of your own ship.  You can always choose your thoughts, words, actions, and feelings.  Nobody and no situation can “make” you think, act, or feel anything – it’s always your choice.  Owning that choice allows for spontaneity and flexibility, and flexibility is personal power.

– Obliterate blame from your life.  Blaming others, self, or your environment is a pathetic excuse for not being accountable.  Blaming gives away all of your personal power and you enslave yourself to the whims of others.  Eradicating blame is simple, although not necessarily easy.  It takes conscious effort to choose your thoughts and become a proactive life-long learner – learning from the results of previous choices.

– Perceived expectations are usually false expectations placed upon yourself.  Don’t buy-in to these false expectations.  Refuse to “should” on yourself or others.  Savour the freedom!

– You have 24 hours in every day, year-round.  It matters not what you choose to do in that time; what matters is that you feel really good about what you do.  Choosing to feel happiness, joy, and love are much more enjoyable than choosing to feel anxiety, guilt, worry, anger, and fear.  What’s your choice – right now?

– Material stuff is not necessary as a gift of love.  Some of the most reciprocal, valuable, and meaningful gifts are a genuine smile, a hug, a helping hand, or an “I love you.”  Rather than a monetary cost, they are an investment that pays huge dividends indefinitely.  These gifts are appropriate at any time of the year and never go out of vogue.  The extra-large size fits all and is extremely comfortable.  These gifts wrap around you like a big, warm, cozy blanket.

– Christmas is exactly the same as any day of the year.  Now (this instant) is the perfect time to “be love” – to treat yourself and others in a loving, caring, and respectful way.  You don’t need to worry about whether or not other people love you.  All you need to do is to love others, unconditionally, no strings attached.

Conscious application of these thoughts allows us to be beacons of light in this world, any time of the year.  I am a light of love and you are a light of love.  We can let our lights shine, or hide in the darkness of scarcity, blame, stress, and materialism.  We can choose to be the kind of person that brightens the room when we enter – or the kind of person that brightens the room when we leave.

I’m consciously striving to apply these thoughts everyday, and my intent is to be a really vibrant light this Christmas.  If we’re shining together, how radiant and love-full can we make this world?  I’m counting on your help.