Posted by Karen Hadalski at 15 December 2012

Category: Uncategorized

What a strange Christmas season this has been: Doomsday- Sayers trying to convince us to prepare for the last day of the Mayan Calendar (Dec. 21st) and the last day of life on Earth; culture wars over whether or not towns should be allowed to display nativity scenes and Christmas trees and what the trees should be called: “Holiday Trees,” perhaps; retailers and parents determined to keep the traditional lightheartedness and expectation of Santa’s return, gifts, and holiday feasts; churches of varied denominations offering varied messages regarding where we are:  a new beginning, the “end times,” a New Age of enlightenment; and now, the horror of the slaughter of 20 young children and 8 adults–including the killer: a crazed 20 year old–yesterday.

Around the world wars and financial woes proliferate; and, at home, we hold our breath and pray that the people we’ve elected to make decisions on our behalf will make the right ones to keep us safe and solvent through one more year.

Add to all of this the personal pessimism of many due to job, home,  and investment losses; pension reductions; the ever-increasing high cost of living and–well–its just not the “Jolly Holly” Christmas season of years gone by.  It isn’t even the White Christmas many of us loved and could count on during our childhoods due to Climate Change!

So, what can we do to give ourselves hope, security, and inner peace and joy?

To me, there are only a few things of real value:  Our health and that of those we love; a vital spiritual life; contributing something of value to others through our work, our talents, our relationships; and being good and trustworthy custodians of that which is entrusted to us: our children, our pets, our land, our resources, our future.

By focusing on these truly valuable blessings, I’m sure we can all find something to be thankful for and hopeful about.  And, there is no better way to experience inner joy than by giving. Whether its visiting a nursing home or shut-in, singing in a choir, adopting an abandoned pet, volunteering at a soup kitchen, planting a tree, or making one child’s world a little brighter, I guarantee that (unless you are a self-centered, greedy, materialist) giving will do much to “make your spirits bright.”

My gift to self this year is sponsoring a little girl through Save the Children.  We’ve just “met” and her sweet, smiling face and hopeful plans for the future truly lift me up. “It is only through giving that we receive.”  What gift will you give your self this year?

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