Honor your spiritual, ethnic or family traditions. Read from the sacred texts of your faith, sing the songs, eat the traditional foods, watch the classic holiday movies you watched as a child with your children.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” —Mother Teresa
Approach volunteer work or charitable donations honoring the dignity of the people being helped. Try not to think of people needing help as “less fortunate” or people to pity or blame. We are all God’s children. Many people are finding themselves one paycheck away from homelessness. Remember, you could be the one having to ask for help for the first time.
Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished. ~Michael Strassfeld
Let your kinder, gentler side show this holiday season. Return a holiday greeting with a smile, even if it is not the greeting you prefer. Open doors for people, especially if their arms are full of packages. Remember store clerks are just doing a job, trying to keep a roof over their families heads and food on the table. A kind word and a smile go a long way toward making a stressful time bearable.
“It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…” Fr. Andrew Greeley, Woman’s Day, 12-22-81
Looking for a good Advent resource? Check out the Praying Advent website from Creighton University’s Online Ministries.
Remember celebration is a state of mind. All the other stuff — elaborate gifts, food and drink, excessive spending is optional. Money is not required to express the joy of the season.
Even the rushed, busy, non stop flurry of activity is a choice. So this year, try just slowing down. Life will still go on. The holidays will still go on. Take a deep breath and remember what this season means to you. This could be your most meaningful holiday yet.
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself.” — Charles Dickens
It is no accident the greatest light holidays of humankind fall during times that for many people of the world are cold and dark. As the days grow shorter and the weather become colder we need that little glimmer of hope that Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali, Kwanza and others bring to us.
This year times seem especially dark and hopeless for many. Hunger, lost jobs, homes and the dreams that went with them leave many struggling in a world that is calling out, no screaming for the light.
But there is good news! We are the guardians of that light we yearn for. So this holiday season help spread the light. Watch this blog for ways you can do your part in bringing light back to a dark world.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” —Mother Teresa