Many of my readers will be celebrating with me as we begin the liturgical season of Advent today, counting the days and weeks until Christmas. As P@H is not a religious blog, but one that emphasizes "getting things done where it matters most", I'll simply share that even if you don't celebrate Advent spiritually, this time of preparation can be a wonderful way to focus on being your best this holiday season.
Unfortunately, we've heard all the stories and read all the statistics on the myriad ways in which Christmas has become a secularized, commercialized "me" fest. News programs show us rabid shoppers macing each other to get to the best deals. Our kids are taught to make wish lists that inevitably lead to disappointment. Our calendars are so overbooked that the season which should be most focused on family time passes us by with a whirl of social obligations.
But it doesn't have to be this way. The Christmas season is also filled with opportunities for great joy and service. We are reminded of the neediest in our communities and given ample opportunity to serve them. We write letters (with stamps!) to friends and loved ones and gather for lingering meals. And we focus on giving, a virtue that's always in season.
This Advent, I invite you to take stock of your personal commitments and to prioritize those that most closely draw you to your desired Christmas -- a time of faith, family and fun. Be realistic about what can fit into your schedule. Open your home a few times to friends, even if you simply serve a frozen pizza and a smile. Write long letters or make long distance calls to elderly relatives. Spend as much on food and clothing for those in need as you do on electronics purchases. And, most of all, take time to savor the season -- it will be gone in the blink of an eye.