The most wonderful time of the year…bah, humbug! Can we please hurry up and get this over with? I know, not a very saintly attitude. I promised you a weekly rant, and that it will end on a high note so never fear…here we go…
There are people everywhere clogging up my streets, parking lots, stores, restaurants and fitness center. Thankfully the kids are staying off my lawn since it’s too cold and dark outside. But you people are messing up my routine. I expect crowds on weekends, but weekdays are mine. Don’t you people need to be at work? Get there and leave me alone!
I do feel guilty for being so annoyed this time of year. It should be a time of joy. Without Christmas there would be no Easter. Without Easter, no chance for us to become saints and live eternally in heaven. So why do I dread it?
Unrealistic expectations, I think. I have never understood our collective need to jam every conceivable activity into December. Let’s review. Shop for gifts, decorate the house inside and out, attend holiday parties, send cards, visit relatives and the elderly, give to the poor, volunteer for worthy causes. Plus, there are typically a whole other set of year-end expectations at work and school. All on top of our normal busy lives. Exhausting!
Then when we think it’s done, it starts all over again. Return all the gifts you don’t like and shop with the cash and gift cards. Take down the decorations. Send thank you’s for the gifts and parties. And then your credit card bill arrives. Oh, and you get to do your taxes. Good times…
I’m working hard to adopt a new attitude this year. A saintlier one. I have been using the “smile and be nice” strategy we discussed last week. Seems I usually get the, “what are you so happy about” look in return. I’m supposed to be the grumpy old man. I don’t appreciate being outdone at my own game.
I’m guessing the way we celebrate his birth is not what The Savior had in mind. Unfortunately the expectations of the season seem to overwhelm the reason for the season. It should be the saintliest time of year. It is often feels quite the opposite.
Enough ranting. Here’s a suggestion for your consideration. How about we do all the things we typically associate with Christmas throughout the entire year? Send cards to people when we think about them. Have parties when we feel like it, no reason, just because. Give gifts when we happen upon things that remind us of someone important to us. Find worthy causes and be charitable with our time, talent and treasure all year, every year.
If we do these things routinely, as a normal part of our daily life, maybe we can focus solely on the reason for the season in December. No stress. Just a time to review the blessings of the past year and anticipate the opportunities to come in the new.
Of course there are some things that you can’t, or may not want to change about your Christmas celebration. Family traditions. Personal customs that bring you joy. Do them. But also consciously cut out the excess. The distractions. Your stressors. Learn to say no to some events without feeling guilty or selfish. Take care of yourself. Keep exercising. Be temperate. No need to make that lose weight resolution any harder than it’s already going to be, Scott.
Personally I am attempting to not be grumpy this entire month, except briefly on Monday mornings. And I’m also working on my plan to ensure that 2018 is my saintliest year ever. One of the ways I intend to do that is by helping you to do the same.
I am currently developing a “virtual retreat” that is intended to make it easy for you to develop your own 2018 plan toward sainthood. There will be no cost to you other than about 5 minutes a day to read an email and do a short exercise. It will start Monday, January 8 and your plan will be complete by the end of that month.
You can learn more about the retreat and register by clicking the button below.
By the way, owning a copy of the “sAint Me?!” book is not necessary for the retreat. But I have reduced the price by a third through the end of the year in case you want the full story. You can check it out here.
Have a Joyful and Saintly week all! Scott