“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.” – Fred Rogers
What I love most about this quote is that it doesn’t refer to the holiday season as always positive and inspiring. It leaves it open to interpretation. What is a favorite story for one, may not be for the other. Stories, no matter their meaning or depth, all have a beginning, take turns, moments of suspense, and a climax and ending.
The holidays, just like everything else, only have whatever meaning we attach to them. Do you like the story you’ve living or does it need some adjusting? For me, I have been feeling that Christmas, and the holiday season in general, has become much too commercialized and way too much focus on the must have and must do. I’m sick and tired of the pressure to find the perfect gift and make the perfect food.
And, I have a feeling I’m not alone.
Yet, for some reason, most of you have already (or will still) do your best to keep up the stigma of perfection as you move through the holidays. As will I. Admittedly, I’ve shifted this year in a big way, but in order to keep the relationships, I’ve found that there is definitely some of the stigma attached.
Case in point . . . Lindsey and I were at the Mall of America last Friday. Many thought we were crazy to be going but for us we knew ahead of time that we weren’t there for a ton of shopping, but did want to pick up a few things. We also went into it with excitement and anticipation as this is our first Christmas together. Knowing that our attitude and energy are what matters most, we were determined to win people over. And then we arrived. Although we didn’t participate in much more than people jumping in line or pushing us out of the way, we witnessed some very rude behavior (not to say line jumping and pushing are okay). I was amazed to see grown adult women (sorry ladies, we’re the biggest culprits) being so hurtful over a stupid gift!!
Are we so caught up in things having to be perfect that we completely drop our compassion and love? Is it always this way or is it magnified by the holidays? And if it is magnified by the holidays, isn’t that ironic?
It seems to me that Christmas (if you’re traditional Christian) represents to birth of Jesus, one of the greatest teachers that ever lived. Even if you aren’t a Christian, you likely know that His biggest message was that of LOVE.
Can you please tell me how celebrating his birth by magnifying negative energy and emotions, being rude and hurtful to others, starting family arguments, and everything else that goes along with it – how is that celebrating the greatest teacher of love??
Short answer – it’s not.
Real answer – it’s because you feel (most feel) completely obligated to keep up with everyone else and we’re so caught up in the commercialism and the must have and must do that we don’t even question what makes sense anymore. Instead, we have shifted our entire focus away from the real meaning and then we wonder why there are so many issues around the country and the world.
Imagine a space where we focused our energy on love. Imagine a space with no obligations and responsibilities to keep up with others. Imagine a space where we embodied one of our greatest teachers, Jesus, and instead honored him and his birth by leading with love and by example.
I know that for most, this probably isn’t an option or you are convinced that it’s not an option (of course it’s always an option, but that means going against the grain and you’d have to make the choice). So, under the assumption that it’s not a option, or one you’re not willing to make, ask yourself a couple questions . . .
– During this holiday season, what would Jesus REALLY do? How would He really respond?
(hint….it’s always LOVE)
– How can I slow down and really embrace and appreciate what I already have?
– What do I really want from others? Their present’s or their presence?
And then remember, the choice IS always yours. You have to decide and then start by leading with love. Focus on BE-ing with the people you are around knowing they care more about you and your time than anything you could ever buy them.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or reach out via info[at]inspiringradiance[dot]com
Sending you much love and holiday blessings!
Make a Difference . . . Lead with Love