"A good conscience is a continual Christmas."
It seems that more and more every year I hear people say that they just don't have the Christmas spirit. With Halloween decorations hitting the shelves while it is practically the 4th of July, we run right into Christmas so fast and furious it is a bit unsettling.
And as many people have had to cut back on frivolous things, Christmas can be stressful with all the shopping and constant urging to Buy, Buy, Buy. There are so many gifts to get. And the kids all want the newest technological gadgets, which can be very expensive. No one wants to disappoint. But no one wants to rack up debt either. That surely can squash your Christmas spirit.
I remember last year I felt pretty bah-humbug. None of my family is here. I haven't seen any of them for a holiday in the last 15+ years. Mostly, I put on a happy face and enjoy my husband's family. It is true what they say, you can never go home again. It wouldn't be the same, I suppose.
So this year, I wanted to try harder to feel the Christmas spirit. I don't just mean to feel the love of Jesus. That is of the utmost importance, don't get me wrong. But that's not exactly what I'm talking about. I mean to slow down, enjoy the season, and revel in the small joys. I want to use my words and actions to actually mean something. When I get a Christmas card, I want to appreciate it instead of sticking it in a holder and rushing off to the next item on my long to-do list. I don't want to wait to be invited, I want to create my own happy each day and share it with all around me.
I'm not up to anything magical. But I am making time to be with my friends. And when I am with them, I am engaged. I am listening and right there with them in the moment, instead of wondering if the bike I ordered has arrived on time.
I am making cookies and treats for the kids. And when they call me for the third time in a row to see the ridiculous things the dogs are doing, I get up from what I am doing to go to them. I need to give them my time, now, especially. They are small for such a short time and I can get caught up in shopping for them rather than truly seeing them. As much as they love new toys, I know they want their parents' attention and interaction even more. They want to be seen, as we all do.
And, it is working. I feel more calm this year. I've made things with my hands for gifts. I've put my heart into these things instead of just my debit card. I don't always make time to create gifts by hand. Life is too busy. So I hope these gifts are appreciated for what they mean.
To me they mean I Care. They are the simple paired against all that is gilded. And in sharing my heart through gifts, cards, hugs, walks, carols, and smiles, I discover that I am finding my way back to being full of Christmas joy.
How is it for you? Are you filling your heart with small happiness?