12.21.2009

Christmas Already!

I know, I know...Christmas is coming! I can barely believe it. The decorations are up (& down...more on that later), the presents are wrapped, treats are made and decorated, emails are flying though cyberspace coordinating family gatherings, & there's already enough snow for a "White Christmas" with a forecast for a real Christmas blizzard on the way!

This morning we had a lovely winter start to the day as frost blanketed our forests and emphasized the quiet beauty of this season. I was able to take an hour and shoot some photographs of the amazing creation surrounding us. Here are a few photos of this winter wonderland I refer to as "God's Breath."



I've said before that Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I think that's true for many of us. It's about more than the treasures and treats and traditions I think. Of course it's about time with family and fond memories, both old and new. But Christmas also gives us a reason to focus on our priorities, recall the adventures of the past year, and create maps for the year to come.

Christmas is our cleansing breath as we come down from the workout of a strenuous year. Or a bit of mint to cleanse our palate from the giant meal we've spent the past twelve months consuming. We know the end is near, and we will begin again, but right now there's a moment to relax, reflect, and hopefully recharge.

As you prepare for what I hope are exciting times:

Relax: This Christmas, breathe. Inhale...pause...exhale, relax and repeat. Use your vacation days up. Enjoy your family and friends. Plan a day of fun and mayhem, or maybe just a day in your pj's with a great book. Turn off the phone. Shut off the computer. Breathe deep. Go for a walk in the crisp, cold breeze. Just relax.

Reflect: I hope that you take some time to be introspective. What happened this year? Where did your time go? Were you able to accomplish your top priorities for the year? I hope so. If not, why not? How will you in 2010? Good questions to mull over with a cup of hot cider by the frozen pond. Reflect.

Recharge: What makes you come to life? Figure it out and do more of it. As 2009 wraps up, spend your time doing the right thing. Each day, pick 5 simple actions that you can do, then do 'em. Not big things...little things. Things that once done, you'll be a bit better for having done them. Recharge.

I'm looking forward to time with my family. All the chaos and commotion and the harmony too. This Christmas I'm committed to overlooking the imperfections in our plans and focusing on the perfecting of our relationships. I hope that you'll join me. Remember that it's the people in our lives that make this time, and all times, really special. Share yourself with someone. Let them know what a blessing they are to you.

Make peace.

Share life.

Give joy.

Mend fences.

Build bridges.

Forgive.

Hug.

Release.

Enjoy!

And the down decorations I mentioned...my Bride was able to direct a community coat drive this winter. She collected winter outerwear throughout the community and then held a "Coat Exchange" at the local elementary school. It was a great success! To make the exchange feel more festive, she decorated the room at the school using our tree and decorations. To do so, she had to take down our decorations and transport everything back and forth.

Since the exchange, we haven't made time to re-decorate the tree. So we have a pretty pre-lit tree encircled with lovely wrapped gifts around the base...but no ornaments! It's kinda funny, but I think it looks nice & it's a good reminder that we can give what we have to bless those around us. Do what you can locally, nationally & globally...but start where you are and let it build.

God bless you & Merry Christmas!