I have not always felt excited about the arrival of winter. Each year when cold weather began, I feared the extra expenses, the gifts I had to buy, and the contributions I was expected to make. I worried about the weather and the way life grew more complicated. I resented the increased demands on my time, the shopping I was expected to do, and the events I was obligated to attend.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate the special blessings of winter: the weekend nights making popcorn, snuggling under blankets, and watching old movies. I value the extra time devoted to spending with family, friends, and the people important to me.
I have learned that I choose how I approach the winter season and what Christmas means to me. I decide where to spend my time and money, and I will invest my resources in the ways that bring me the most reward.
I choose how many gifts to buy, whom to buy for, and how much to spend. I refuse to enter any mall or store where I will fight with crowds and stand in line with other tired and frustrated customers. I choose to do my shopping early and then relax as the holiday approaches.
I choose how I will spend my time and the people who will share it. I am free to politely decline invitations to events and activities. This year I RSVP’d “Not this time” to a very important evening, because I plan to spend that time with my mentee, eating pizza and chatting at my dining room table.
As I get older, I find it more important to choose a peaceful and reflective winter and holiday season. I prefer to relax into the deep silence of winter nights – the time of serious thought and contemplation. I choose winter as my time to wrap in warm quilts on the couch, watching A Christmas Story for the hundredth time. I spend my winter evenings appreciating and enjoying the company of the people I care for most, preparing for the change and renewal of the year to come.
This year I encourage you to enjoy the winter months as a time to consider and plan, discuss and dream. I hope you make winter and Christmas the time of rest they were intended to be. I pray you enjoy a peaceful and comforting winter and holiday season.
How have you changed your approach to winter and Christmas? What are you looking forward to this season?