I was on the treadmill at the health club the other day. Two women near me were talking about their holiday plans and preparations. One of them was going through the list of people she still needed to buy gifts for, and saying how difficult it was to figure out what to buy for her young nieces and nephews. Plus, she had to ship some of the gifts, and she wasn’t looking forward to standing in line at the post office.

“That’s why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about any of that. You don’t have to buy any gifts. You just go and enjoy yourself.”

Although I’m also a big fan of Thanksgiving, it made me a little sad to hear what the woman was saying about Christmas. I certainly understand her feelings, though. I’m sure most of us can relate to the dilemma of buying gifts for relatives that we love, but who live far away and whom we don’t see on a regular basis. Especially for kids as they’re growing up, we can find it difficult to pick out gifts they’ll enjoy when we don’t automatically know their interests and activities, or who their favorite comic book or cartoon heroes are.

I could insert a sermon here about the true meaning of Christmas, and how the focus of Christmas shouldn’t be gifts or other material and secular trappings of the holiday. But I won’t do that. Instead, I’d simply like to remind everyone – myself included – to take a moment whenever we can during this busy time of year to think about our faith, our family, and our friends. Doing so can help us slow down during all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. It can help us put our shopping and shipping chores and tasks into perspective. And it can remind us that the love we share with others is the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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