A Christmas Version of I Corinthians 13

December 13, 2012
A reflection on remembering the real meaning of Christmas when preparing for the holiday. 
 

Girl's choir celebrating Santa Lucia

The following is a reminder of the meaning of Christmas and the power of love to overcome our holiday frenzy of shopping, cooking and cleaning.

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If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

— Author Unknown

 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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Practicing What I Preach

December 22, 2010
No matter what the weather is like where you are, may you have a wonderful holiday this week and into the new year.

My daughter will be arriving from the airport within an hour, but I think I have just enough time to finish this post. I am, however, as the title of this states, taking my own advice about not making myself do more than I have time to do.

Yesterday I finished a video as a greeting to my family and friends and decided I would use that video as a greeting to readers of my blog as well. After all, even though I may not personally know you, I feel friendly toward the people for whom I write, so I’ll consider you friends.

Earlier this week, I thought that I might be able to create a special video just for the blog, but now time has run out. And I adhere to the admonishment that grandmothers should not spend their time in the office when grandchildren come to visit, especially when the visits are few.

Be sure to have your sound turned on so you can hear the rain.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa. Generally Cheerful Winter Celebrations.

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A Clear Yes or No to Holiday Requests

December 4, 2010
It doesn’t pay to be wishy-washy when asked to do something you may not really want to do, especially over the holidays.

What Part of No Don't You Understand?Stress-free Suggestion Number Two

If you haven’t read the introduction to this series of suggestions for a guilt-free, stress-free holiday, read Talking Back to the Voice of Unhealthy Guilt.

Then write the following on a paper and put it where you can see it throughout the day:

I will say a clear “yes” to those things that bring pleasure to my life and a clear “no” to those who would dictate how my holiday unfolds.

If you put this affirmation into practice, how would that affect your relationships?

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Talking Back to the Voice of Unhealthy Guilt

November 29, 2010
What can you say to the voice whispering in your ear that you aren’t doing enough this holiday season?

Woman soaking feet after long day of shopping for giftsLast Monday I wrote a piece called Perfectionists Feel the Pressure of the Holiday Season. After I uploaded the post, I again looked over that article and decided it gave me material for a number of posts in December. That allows me to feel I’ll not be neglecting the blog in a busy season, and it allows you to know you will be getting suggestions with which you can approach the holidays with less stress, especially if you are a perfectionist.

The main focus of the guilt-free article was to encourage you to say, “I am enough,” whenever you begin to feel as though you need to be someone you aren’t — you know, the one who manages to do everything well before it’s due and to remember every detail without referring to a list.

To set the stage for most of the other blog posts in December, here are a couple paragraphs from the article:

Once you talk back to the unreasonable voice of unhealthy guilt, you will discover something wonderful. By accepting yourself just as you are — even though Martha Stewart might be able to create a more stunning holiday centerpiece — you will be amazed to discover that it’s a whole lot more fun liking yourself and enjoying what YOU want to do. When you love yourself, your inner beauty will shine. When you let go of unhealthy guilt, you will have sources of energy that you previously expended in trying to be someone else, an effort which is not only energy depleting — it’s impossible.

Most of all, with a new and more positive perspective, you’ll be a lot more relaxed . . . which will make you more fun to be around . . . which will put other people at ease . . . which will help them enjoy themselves . . . which means they’ll like you a whole lot, ’cause everyone likes people who help them have a good time. Very soon, your family and friends will notice that what you have to offer them is the gift of being the best you that you can be, which is the greatest gift you can give anyone.

Future posts this month will briefly refer you to this page and then suggest that in addition to repeating the statement “I am enough” every day, that you say another statement to guide your efforts to reduce the pressure to do more than you can reasonably accomplish.

Write the words on a piece of paper (a sticky note will do) and put them on the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator or anywhere you can be reminded to affirm your intention to experience this holiday with simple joy and acceptance of yourself and others just as you are.

Don’t take down the statement you last put up. If your refrigerator gets “cluttered” with them, be grateful for supporting yourself in this season when so much is asked of us.

Right now, before you get caught up in the busy-ness of the day, get out a paper and write:

My best is good enough because that is all I can do.

The suggestions you’ll find in the December posts reflect the reality that you are in charge of most of your life, even when it doesn’t feel that way. After all, no one is holding a gun to your head and demanding you try to accomplish more than you have time to do, even though others have benefited from your efforts in the past.

If you don’t want to stand over the stove and stir a quadruple batch of caramels for an hour, no matter how much your family may enjoy them, you can’t be forced to do it against your will. (Completing a report for the boss is a different matter for a different kind of post. Here I’m talking about the activities you set for yourself outside work.)

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