OK, so things are a bit hectic this time of year, with Giftmas coming up & winter travel delays & the shortest month of the year (that being December which though the calendar insists has 31 days, in reality has only 23)...
We should all take some time out of our 'gimme-rush-moneyin-moneyout-church-store-tempertantrum-stressedout-nicetoseeyou-ohgodtheinlawsarehere!' lives to really think about what matters.
Stop & look around at the marvelous creation you are a part of.
Go outside & take a few good deep breaths, and feel the miracle of life.
See the beauty of the world.
Listen to the wind in the grass, feel the snow on your face & the trickle of water in the streams.
When you come back in, take time to appreciate the warmth & love in your own home.
Whatever label you want to stick on it, in this dark time of the year every moment of light is something to be cherished. No matter where you are (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway).
Take time to enjoy the beauty of a new-fallen snow, the thrill of a winter storm, thank your lucky stars you aren't in North Dakota (unless you are, then thank the skill of your furnace man).
Have you ever stood in the middle of a winter field at midnight & looked at the glory of the heavens? That cold, clear space come down to earth in that single moment of time.
Have you ever felt the chill air blow across your face while Father Frost tries to freeze the breath in your body, knowing that the only thing standing between you & an icy end are the clothes on your back and that warm, distant farmhouse?
If you haven't, you should try it some time.
Please remember, no matter what holiday you celebrate, WHY you are celebrating it.
These holidays are not about THINGS. They are about love. And no matter how many or how few items are under your (_________), what really matters is the people in your heart, and sharing those thoughts & feelings of love & appreciation with them.
It's not about everyone going to Grandma's through snow, sleet & dark of night.
It's not about everyone getting the same number or price in gifts.
It's about the love & caring you have as a family (and not asking those you love & care about to risk life & limb to be there on THAT day). Remember that you love your family & friends no matter what day it is, and that they love you too.
A single gift that is truly a gift, not an obligation, is worth more than an I-pod or X-box or whatever the latest soon-to-be-outdated toy will ever be.
Sometimes a gift of your time is the most precious thing you can give.
Sometimes a gift of your skill is worth more than all the gold, frankincense and myrrh in the world...
Sometimes a gift of kind words is the only thing someone needs to warm their heart for years.
Keep warm this Holiday Season.
Take the time to count your blessings (and tell them how much they mean to you).
Keep your mittens & muffs tied around your neck so your hands are always warm.
Hug your children when they come in covered in snow. It's better than presents under a dead pine tree.