Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Priorities

It's a Wonderful Life

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Sometimes my Christmas packages are tied up with guilt—the zest I had on Thanksgiving starts to seep out until I feel like a tired balloon. So many people to see, so many places to be, so many things to make and bake and take. It's a challenge to focus and choose: things I'd hoped to do don't get done, friends get checked off my to-do list like chores, and I have to turn off the Christmas music to concentrate on finding a parking place. The Grinch is stalking me.

I get defensive when I feel guilty, and I start arguing my case in my mind (although it sometimes spills out) justifying myself to myself. And, as always when there's any kind of contention, the Spirit of Christmas leaves. It's time to check my list of priorities:

What do I want to have happen?
  1. I want to remember the baby Jesus, the grown up Jesus, and the lessons He taught about how to find joy in living, and peace of mind.
  2. I want to communicate love, encouragement and support to my husband, kids and grandkids in an unhurried way.
  3. I want to share my heritage with them.
  4. I want to slow down and bask in the beauty of the season.
  5. AND . . . I want to see old aunts, new nephews, cousins, siblings, friends, neighbors; send cards, go caroling, frost cookies, listen to Handel's Messiah; write an Oma book, shop, wrap presents, read Christmas books . . .
Checking my priority list has calmed me down. Scrooge isn't out to get me and that lump of coal thing doesn't apply just because I can't do it all. There will still be life after Christmas. For now, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. (A silent night can bring joy to my world, if I let it.)

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