So the immediate question is: When do you start enjoying Christmas?
Is it while you are addressing envelopes with greetings for friends far way, or is it when those cards are stamped and in the mail and you can check something off the list?
Is it while you’re decorating the house and putting up the tree in between juggling life’s usual responsibilities, or is it after the decorations are all up and the Christmas boxes are empty and back in the basement and you’re done with yet one more thing?
Is it while you’re shopping and wrapping and attaching bows and tags or is it after the presents are opened and everyone seems happy enough and there’s just the torn wrapping paper to pick up and toss?
If I ask myself these questions, there is no question I’m one who is most often more happy when things are done, and part of that is joy that my list is shorter mixed with relief that I made yet another deadline.
I am not proud of that sentiment.
I’m pretty sure Christmas would be more fun if you enjoyed all the work that accompanies it:
If you enjoy not just the glow after a tasty holiday meal, but planning it, preparing it, serving it and cleaning it up.
If you enjoy not only feeling you’ve given that perfect gift, but if you had fun shopping for it and wrapping it and delivering it.
It’s better if you enjoy not only eating those goodies, but making them.
And If you enjoy not only singing with the church choir, but practicing with them.
OK – now we’re stretching. But you get the drift. And I can say that as a former choir director.
Figuring out how to enjoy the process is a skill many have developed – especially at Christmas -- and one I am determined to improve upon.
Because the greater question follows closely on its heels: When do you start enjoying life?
Do you start enjoying life when you’re raising kids or when they’re independent?
When you’re working in a challenging profession or when you’ve retired?
When you have all the answers or are still working through the questions?
My greatest fear – and one that I have perhaps expressed before in this forum – is that I will look back on life and realize how much fun I was having – all while I was worried and anxious and in a hurry to finish something.
The greatest gift to myself – and to you if you are in any way like me – would be to be in the moment and to appreciate it.
To be grateful we are doing what we’re doing even if it’s on the run.
And to be just as happy when it’s happening as when it’s over.
Once more, with feeling:
Be happy in the moment – embrace it, enjoy it, whether it’s work or fun, whether you’re just beginning or nearly done.
Be grateful for each opportunity – each and every one is a gift from God.
Worth a try.
Merry Christmas! And happy new lease on the year!