How to have the Christmas you’ve always wanted – part 7


The Gift of Joy

What is it that people want from Christmas? They dream of white Christmases.
They want to be home for Christmas if only in their dreams. They dream of
walking in winter wonderlands and shopping surrounded by happy shoppers
listening to silver bells. But is that really what they want? No. What
people really want is a sense of fulfillment, joy, and worth; they want the gift
of joy.

How can you get that elusive gift of joy? You must identify what you feel is
most important about Christmas. Identify what you value most about Christmas.

Doing this will involve making choices, sometimes between two equally good
things. “Should I direct the church Christmas program or bake cookies with the
kids to give away as Christmas gifts?” Both are good things to do. The values
that you’ve identified will help you make that decision.

Why do I have to identify these values? Can’t I just wing it? When you
identify your values ahead of time you are resolving the issues ahead of time.
It is easier to make your decisions because you’ve already decided what’s most
important to you. Don’t resolve the issues ahead of time and you may end up
doing nothing and regretting it later.

Identifying what’s most important to you also keeps you from spending all your
time on activities and projects that aren’t right for you. If you’re not
musically gifted you may not want to join a Christmas choir. On the other hand
if you are really good at crafts you may want to make your gifts this Christmas.

Identifying what’s most important to you and what your values are will help you
get that sense of fulfillment, joy, and worth you’re looking for this Christmas.
The following exercise will help you identify what’s most important to you at
Christmas.

Exercise: What Are You Celebrating?
In general, people ask Christmas to do too many things for them. They want it
to strengthen their family bonds, give their spirits a lift in the dark days of
winter, stimulate their compassion and generosity, help them keep tabs on
far-flung friends, confirm their deepest religious beliefs, show off their
skills as hosts and hostesses, establish their rank in the social order . . .
the list goes on and on. No one celebration can do it all.

This values-clarification exercise will help you decide which parts of Christmas
are most deserving of your efforts. Once you have decided that, you will be
able to plan a celebration that is in harmony with your deepest beliefs and
expressive of who you are as an individual.

To complete the exercise, read through the following ten value statements below,
cross off those that have no importance to you, and add any equally important
ones that we have not included. Then decide which of the remaining values is
most important to you. Put a 1 beside the sentence. Then find the one that is
next important to you and put a 2 beside it. Continue in this manner until each
statement has been assigned a different number. Even a value that has a low
priority can still be important to you. Remember: 1 is highest and 10 is
lowest.

Christmas is a time to be a peacemaker, within my family and the world at large.
Christmas is a time to enjoy being with my immediate family.
Christmas is a time to create a beautiful home environment.
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Christmas is a time to exchange gifts with my family and friends.
Christmas is a time for parties, entertaining, and visits with friends.
Christmas is a time to help those who are less fortunate.
Christmas is a time to strengthen bonds with my relatives.
Christmas is a time to strengthen my church community.
Christmas is a time to take a few days off from work and have a good time.

The Christmas Pledge

Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit myself to the
following:
1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts
2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents
3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family
4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas
5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends

The material presented here was taken from the book Unplug The Christmas Machine
by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli published by William Morrow and
Company, Inc.

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