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Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Word for the Day (Advent)

            Today’s Word:  Ready.

            We hear the question all the time these days, don’t we? 
“Are you ready for Christmas?” 
Of course that means a host of things.  Is the tree up and the house decorated?  Do you have your presents bought, the menu ready for the family gathering and times figured out when the whole family can be together?  You know, just typing those questions got me tired.  That doesn’t seem quite right.  Perhaps being “ready” means more than wrapping paper, lights and sufficient fattening food. 
We could take a clue from our patients.  Most of them are also look forward to Christmas and hope to be ready.  But many can’t shop or wrap or write Christmas cards.  They just want to see the people they love.  They want to be “ready” by being able to visit with their family, their friends, or their faith family.  Everything else is secondary. 
Hmmm.  Maybe we should rethink getting ready.    How about the following?
1.         Get enough rest.  I remember working hard to get everything “ready” for my children to come one Christmas.  But I was so tired that … well, you fill in the blank.  Don’t do it.  Get rest so you can enjoy.
2.         Be people centered.  Do what helps the relationships and visiting.  Find ways to care about others.  The “together” is the best part, right?
3.         Leave lots of free time.  We certainly should plan some events (hey, who wants to come out to the Live Nativity I narrate?).  But it takes even more planning to simply set aside free time.  Free to be with family.  Perhaps free to be alone for a bit. 
4.         The devil is in the details.  He really is!  Don’t let some details destroy your time together.  Who cares if we forgot to defrost the turkey?  Pizza is good and we’re together. 
5.         Have fun.  One of the greatest mistakes we make during the holidays is to put our expectations too high.  That gift we give won’t be as cool as we think.  The ones we open won’t change our lives.  There may not be an extra-ordinary time of family sharing (we can’t control that).  So just have fun, laugh and let the opportunities for good stuff just come as they may.
6.         Repeat after me:  I am not personally responsible for the Christmas joy of others.  (You are only responsible for yourself.)  Yes, we love, serve, help and encourage others.  But we can’t have Christmas spirit for them any more than we can breathe for them. 
So, are you ready?  If that question makes you nervous, maybe you ought to re-think just what you are getting ready for!

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