Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Got Them Re-solution Blues?

Ever notice how the coming new year's resolutions are reminiscent or, as is often the case, poorly disguised copies of last year's resolutions? While that might speak to the futility of making resolutions at all, I think it shows a certain tenacity in the human spirit to make things right, to get things right -- (i.e. the things we really find important) at least in our own worlds.

I know there are detractors who find the whole resolution thing a waste of time. Their thoughts, I would assume, stem in part from the seeming artificiality of picking a date like January 1 of the new year as the definitive moment to initiate some radical change. Why wait until the first of the year to engage in something you feel is so important? What's so special about the passage from one year to the next when it comes to major life decisions? Their questions are valid.

Well, in truth there's probably nothing inherently significant about picking New Year's Day as the day we shed our old selves to take the reins on what lies before us. Still, it seems a good time to keep our word, start exercising, stop procrastinating, eat better, read more, go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, meet new people, stop smoking, put the TV remote down, attend to our appearance, make more blog comments, drink less or not at all, start saving money, learn a new skill, volunteer, let go of grudges, get organized, learn how to cook, travel more, forgive others, curtail Internet usage, pay off debts, let go of bad relationships, take responsibility, learn some self defense, face down fears and insecurities, and/or keep a journal.

Maybe Cary Grant, the film superstar of years gone by, was on to something when he spoke to our making of resolutions and the way we so quickly let them go. His philosophy was "never to make a resolution which won't be as important on the ... tenth of July as it is on the first of January."

All the best to each of you as you consider the open slate of the year ahead -- and what you'd like to do with it.

You can share your radical resolution(s) or your anti-resolution philosophy with us by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Presence

This is the time of year when many in the world stop to share gifts, good deeds, and kindnesses with one another. Bell-ringers remind us to give from our plenty to those less fortunate; tantalizing price-cuts hold the promise of an even more gift-laden Christmas morning; joyous greetings between strangers bring smiles that warm the night. All seems right in the world.

Yes, it's Christmas time, and everything is a little brighter.

But there is a down side to this season too, especially when the desire to give loved ones all the "latest and greatest" leads to spending money not yet earned. It can make an otherwise bright season one that becomes an inane competition. Nerves frazzle as anxious shoppers wind through parking lots, searching for a spot, any spot. Empty store shelves remind last-minute shoppers that procrastination this time of year can backfire in a big way.

Yes, it's Christmas time, and everything is a little more stressful.

The familiar melodies of heartwarming Christmas carols remind us this season is about way more than presents. It's about family and friends sharing their lives -- breaking bread together, singing songs boldly and sometimes out of key, and laughing heartily with one another.

Yes, it's Christmas time, and it's time for family.

But we'd be kidding ourselves to think it's the same for everyone -- the good times, that is. There are those who know an empty spot on the floor where the tree should be. There's the beloved spouse who brought such life into the season and who now is gone. There are the children who've moved away with kids of their own. There are others -- the newly single -- who grapple with life as the one they loved and counted on has walked away, tearing apart their heart and their marriage.

Yes, it's Christmas, and it's a time for loneliness.

There is perhaps no greater gift we can give than our presence. With that in mind, let's gather our family around us and rejoice. Let's seek out those among us who are alone, those who struggle, and those who need a friend. Let us gather them into our family, for these are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's give them our time and remind them of God's presence in their life.

Yes, it's Christmas, and we can make it wonderful for someone else.

A few more days and Christmas will be here. Is this year just another replay of years gone by? Do you find yourself falling into all the predictable ways of doing things this time of year like you always do? Maybe there's more to Christmas than we realize. Maybe it's all about being there for someone else.

Take a moment to share what it is about Christmas that's most meaningful to you. You can do this by clicking here to share your thoughts.