I very much hope you had a joyful Thanksgiving that left you with treasured memories and a warmth of spirit. I had family in and out of my home, too much food, and just the right amount of post-meal naps.
Now the Christmas season is here, and we are swimming in the holiday celebration.
That’s the way I think of it now: the annual holiday season rolls in like a full-moon tide, and we sink or swim depending upon the responsibilities that come our way and our outlook and response to all the season’s activities. We’ve all heard the saying – life is 10% what happens to us and 90% of how we react. I can’t quite pin down the attribution for that quote, but Charles Swindoll gets recognized for either originating it or making it more familiar to us.
I also like to think of the November 1st – December 31st period as the Season of Thanksgiving in my little world. I will grant you that every day of the year should be Thanksgiving, but I like the idea of having this time of year be a time when I stop and still have my over-active brain and reflect on all the goodness in my life.
Christian thought teaches that we should be grateful in all circumstances. That’s sometimes hard, I know. If you don’t believe in a “higher power,” it may be nearly impossible. Still, most of us do have faith in such even if we describe it as the cosmos, the “may the force be with you” from Star Wars, or the collective totality of humanity, so I think all have the option of choosing gratitude.
I have also been taught to be grateful for all circumstances.
That’s harder still, but a goal I am reaching for bit-by-bit even though complete success is still a long way off in the distance. Okay, for me, it’s over the horizon, but I know it’s there, and all that I must do to get there is to keep going. Like I keep telling you, I’m a work in progress. Nothing about me, except for several bad choices, is finished, I trust.
Not to go too far down this rabbit trail, but you may be thinking I am either completely insane or hopelessly naïve. Well, yeah, you do have some evidence to support that position. You may well ask, “How could a person possibly be grateful for rioting in the streets, a war in our world, all the offensive ‘–isms’ that have plagued every society since one family split into two tribes, and so on and so on?”
Okay, you got me there.
I don’t have an answer that I believe you will find satisfying, but I’m back to the idea that 90% of how events impact me is how I react to them.
I will admit that I hate, absolutely dark-hearted hate, most of the pontification I hear out of our elected (and appointed) officials in Washington. I believe that most of what I hear from either political party is dishonesty, disingenuousness, or just plain idiotic.
I am not pleased, happy, or smiling. I’m angry.
So, where is my gratitude? It’s here:
I once told a class I was teaching, “If life was a lottery, you have already won the winning ticket by being born in the United States of America in the second half of the 20th century.” I still think this is true. As we struggle with a growing population density and the problems that come with that, we still have more personal freedoms than almost anywhere in the world. We have opportunities and education that allow us to make the most of our talents. We have a society that recognizes unfairness and is continually working to improve upon that and stamp out the weakness and prejudices in our community. We have food and housing enough for all, with only the challenge of figuring out how to distribute these necessities to the poorest and most oppressed among us. Shoot, many Americans also have access to “discretionary income“; that’s something 99% (give or take) the world populace can’t comprehend.
There is so much good in our lives.
Let’s take the time to appreciate it, shall we? And like always, I think the best way to ensure having something in the future is to plan for it, hence my “Season of Thanksgiving.”
Plan to be grateful. Plan to be joyful. Plan to celebrate your love of those special to you. Please put it on your calendar, and don’t let it slip by unnoticed in the rush of busy days!
Oh, yeah. One more thing. I am grateful for and to you. I am thankful for those who take the time to read my thoughts, work with me and trust me to manage your assets, visit with me and become my friends, and inspire me to continue on this journey we are traveling together. Have a Merry Christmas, will ya?