By Loretta McNary
With less than a few days to shop for the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of checking the list twice, festive decorations, and elaborate meal planning. This week let’s look beyond the twinkling lights and beautifully wrapped presents to unwrap a deeper essence of the holidays—one that transcends material possessions. Let’s create a tradition of shifting our focus from the gifts under the tree to the gifts of time, truth, and unconditional love. This three gifts are essential for creating moments that fill our hearts with joy, long after the decorations are packed away.
In a world that often appears to move at an ever-accelerating pace, the holidays provide a unique opportunity to slow down and reconnect with what truly matters: our relationships with family and friends. While the allure of the perfect gifts can be enticing, the gift of time is irreplaceable.
As we ponder over varies gift ideas for loved ones, consider gifting quality time—whether it’s a shared meal, a heartfelt conversation during halftime at a sporting event, or a text or email that simply says, “I’m thinking about you”. These are the treasures that forge lasting memories and bring us together.
In the spirit of authenticity, let’s embrace the notion that the true magic of the holidays lies not in perfection but in embracing the beauty of imperfection. Normalize, giving yourself and your loved ones the gift of truth. Acknowledge that not every moment needs to be flawlessly orchestrated, and not every dish needs to be a culinary masterpiece. By incorporating the validity of our shared experiences, we open the door to genuine connections and create an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance.
Even in the midst of holiday cheer, it’s essential to recognize the significance of unconditional love. Take time away from work and busyness to strengthen the bonds that connect us to our family and friends. In a world filled with uncertainties, the love we share becomes a beacon of hope and a source of strength. Let this holiday be a celebration of the love that transcends the boundaries of time and circumstance—a love that accepts us for who we are, imperfect humans.
As we prepare to celebrate, let’s also prepare our hearts for kindness. The holiday season can be stressful for many, bringing forth a myriad of emotions and challenges. Take a moment to extend kindness to others and, equally important, to yourself. Small acts of compassion, whether a friendly smile to a stranger or a thoughtful gesture to a friend, have the power to transform ordinary moments into a time of shared gratitude and goodwill.
It is crucial to carve out moments of peacefulness. Whether it’s finding solace in the quiet beauty of a candlelight church service or taking a few minutes each day for meditation. Cultivating inner peace becomes a precious gift to us both corporately and individually.
The holiday season is a time for reflection, gratitude, and renewed hope. By accepting and giving grace, we release the need for perfection and allow the beauty of the season to unfold organically. Hope, in turn, becomes the leading light that propels us into the new year with a sense of possibility and anticipation.
By choosing to intentionally shift our focus from the material to the spiritual, from the extravagant to the meaningful; we can create a tapestry of experiences that enrich our lives and strengthen the bonds we share with those all around us.
As we gather with family and friends, over breakfast, brunch, dinner, Facetime or Zoom, may our hearts be filled with kindness, our minds with peace, and our souls with the enduring gifts of grace and hope.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!