. . . making the most of the time . . . –Ephesians 5:15 RSV
Leftover turkey in the fridge. Blaze orange clothing over backs of chairs. Plastic bins of Christmas decorations in the hall. Has it really been a year since I packed them away? Before I know it, I’ll be packing them up again.
Slow down, time, and let me savor each day as this season unfolds. Let me not get so caught up with lists and just the right gift and programs and housecleaning and baking, that by the time the day comes, I’ll be a bah-humbug.
Do you know what I’ve wanted to do for a long time?
Toss the lists—we have too much already. Closets and drawers overflowing. Food getting moldy in the fridge. Weight and health problems because we have over and above what we need and too many things we really don’t want.
I’d like to give Christmas away. Take all that money I’d spend on gifts that no one really needs and give it to someone who does. I’d like to go Christmas shopping for a family who wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise. Food, clothes, toys. Pack it in boxes, leave it on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, and then hide and watch the wonder, the surprise, the joy.
But I’m locked in tradition. And I lack the courage to break it.
I can make a start—by telling my family not to get me anything. I’m not being a martyr here. Honest. I have more than enough.
And ask them, instead, for time. Time to enjoy a leisurely meal together. And it doesn’t have to be one someone spent all day in the kitchen preparing. Macaroni and cheese or bought pizza would be just fine. Time to watch a movie together and eat popcorn. Time to sit around the table and talk or play Monopoly or Sorry or Uno Attack. So what if my youngest son tromps me by fifty points every time we play Scrabble?
I want to call Sam and Deb and invite them to, as they so often joked, “come visit the poor folks.”
I don’t want to look back, at the end of my life, and cry, like poor, rich Solomon did, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything was meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
The most meaningful gifts don’t come with a price tag.
Like time. Like sharing. Like love. Like family. After all, when the chips are down, who else do we have? As Robert Frost once wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”*
In the end, it all comes down to choice.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” *
Dear God, give me the courage to take the road less traveled by. Amen.
*“The Death of the Hired Man” and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, by Michele Huey. © 2018. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
4 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas”
I think we all get to this age and stage of life where we realize that what is really important is our relationship with God and the family and friends He has blessed us with.
There are still folks we feel we have to buy gifts for, we have trimmed the list and even changed things for our grandchildren. This year we are paying for some experiences for them instead of buying “stuff”. I hope to keep this going in the future as well.
As for buying for those in need, I have been blessed that our local community center runs an “Adopt-a-Teen” program that we have taken part in for several years. We get to shop for a teenager in the community who may not have much else at Christmas. The community center gives us a teen to shop for with a list of ideas and clothing sizes. For me it has become a fun challenge to see how much of their wish list I can fulfill with the $100 cap we have on spending.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this as it is good to know others are going through the same experiences.
Truly enjoy your weekly blog and I am anxiously awaiting book 2 of the Pennswoods Mysteries!
Thank you, Susan, for taking the time to share with us your wonderful thoughts. I love that the gifts you’re giving are gifts of experiences rather than things. That’s definitely something I’m going to look into for gifts for the coming year. And you are blessed to have such outreach programs in your community. You truly are tending to the “Lazarus at your gate.” And thank you for your encouraging words about my upcoming novel, Ghost Mountain, which will be released this spring. May your Christmas season be blessed with God’s love, joy, and peace, and may His light continue to shine on you and guide you throughout the New Year.
Michelle, thank you for your words and thoughts and writings all year. Blessings from Lancaster.
Thank you, Cheri! Have a blessing-filled New Year!