Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gratitude During the Holidays–Focusing On What Matters

I find it interesting, ironic and sad to hear about atheists who are getting so whipped up about the importance of removing religion from Christmas.  It is also sad to see so many people choosing to focus on the trite, unimportant things in the world, especially given the excess amount of poverty, hunger, disease, pestilence and war that exists in a species that believes it represents the best the Earth can offer.

Some years ago, I received a lesson in understanding what is important during the holiday season.  Sharing the story of my lesson has become an annual tradition for me at this time of year and so, by popular demand, I share it once again.

Many years ago when my oldest son was very young, I had pulled into a Toys R Us parking lot in New Jersey on Christmas Eve to buy him more "stuff".  For my son to have so much stuff that he rivalled Toys R Us in inventory still didn't seem enough for some reason.

Just before I stepped out of my vehicle, a story came on my favorite National Public Radio station (WNYC in New York to be exact) and something about it caught my ear.

For the next 10 minutes, I sat in silence and listened to the story.  When the story was over, I started the truck and drove out of the parking lot in silence.

I had received an important message about Christmas when I needed to hear it.

It is said that the teacher always appears when the student is ready and my Christmases have never been the same since.

Of the many traditions I have at Christmas, there are two that I find to be important.

1. I always listen to this story at least once.

2. I always share it with others and encourage them to listen to it.

The story I am referring to can be found here and in the video below.

When I think about my family, my friends and Life itself, I consider myself to be extremely blessed.

With that, I thank YOU for what you do - for the light and love you bring to so many.

In an uncertain world, every day we are alive is still an incredible gift.

In a world that experiences difficult moments, there are still miracles being created.

In a world that experiences war and hostility, there are still many examples of love and generosity.

In a world that experiences adversity and challenge, there exists unlimited opportunity and potential.

In a world that may seem to embrace greed, there are examples of incredible generosity.

Despite the many challenges we face, we have many reminders that we still live in a beautiful world.  Sometimes the reminders are obvious while at other times we need to dig deep to find them.

Sometimes we need the help of others to help us find the “breathing room” to see them.

And many times, other people need our help.

The reminders are there and that is what matters.

As you celebrate this Holiday Season, please remember those who are not as fortunate.  There is more than enough love to go around – we just need to make the effort to share it unconditionally.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy EID or Merry Yule.

However you celebrate these days, cherish them.

And help others to find a way to cherish them as well.

In service and servanthood, love and gratitude.


For those who can’t find the links on the NPR website to hear the story, they can be found here:

Windows Media Player

Real Media Player

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