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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thereís every reason to scale back the commercial side of Christmas this year, but that just gives us a chance to be creative in our giving. Itís all well and good for everyone to have a package to open, and for childrenís eyes to light up, but in the end these are just things that represent feelings. We can give even more by expressing those feelings, and acting on them.

For one thing, we could spend more time with each other. Or, for people who need their space, maybe we could spend less time. Thatís something you probably decide on a case by case basis. But I have to think that there are people out there who could use a little more companionship and attention than theyíre getting. There are people who have something to say, but no one to hear it. Part of my commitment this Christmas season is to listen better and hear more, and to make this feeling last throughout the year.

We could also step back and see how we treat each other, and maybe bring a little extra consideration into our interactions. Sometimes we take the people in our lives for granted. Sometimes we expect more from them than weíre giving in return. Iíd like to acknowledge all the things the people in my life do for me, and Iíd like them all to see what they do for each other as well. And by that I mean, Iím grateful for what you do for me, and also for what you allow me to do for you.

Another thing we can give each other — and it doesnít cost a devalued red cent — is encouragement. We could all be so much better than we are, if only the ones we cared about believed in us enough to let us know. This is the flip side of the taking-for-granted coin. Itís also a way of opening up our expectations of each other. When someone falls short of the mark, we can criticize and demean, or we can encourage and provide a platform (or maybe even a catapult) to get that person to believe in as many possibilities as they can dream up. Our intertwined lives can become a sort of Moebius strip of hope.

11 December 2008

Top of the tree.

This is what this season means to me, even in a year when money is tighter than usual. It doesnít take money to give each other gifts that will last longer than anything that comes in a colored package. You really donít have to give up much, and you get so much in return that it doesnít really make sense to live any other way. Nobodyís perfect, or so Iíve heard, but everyone can aspire to share the good in our lives a little more than we do. Thereís certainly enough conflict and discord out in the big world without our adding to it in the small corner of the world we inhabit.

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