Does joy remain with you after the holidays? Think about it. If so, how?
Here is a novel idea — celebrate Christmas all year. It is the new/old way to celebrate and keep Christmas in the heart. Charles Dickens wrote, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” It is certainly a great way to have a stress-free season and a wonderful year.
First on the year of things to give all the time is love. Without love we are nothing. It costs nothing. It makes everyone feel much better. It is not love until we give it away. When we give love, we give a little of the spirit of the God that is within us and makes everyone feel better.
Second on the list is respect. If we don’t respect people we don’t love them. We need to listen to what they say. We need to be polite. We need to consider their feelings and value their opinions and values. We need to regard their customs and beliefs. Just be thoughtful to everyone.
Appreciation is third on the list. Do we really appreciate what others do for us? Do we thank them enough for what they do to make our lives better? I have one special friend who drives me any place I want to go. He is a whiz-bang at decorating for Christmas or any holiday. We run errands. We shop. We watch television movies. We watch ball games (when there are any to watch). In general, we are just God-given friends who enjoy each others’ company. It is impossible to show appreciation for all he does and is. If I try to show appreciation, it is shrugged off. He says he loves doing things to help. I love his doing for me too. I think my appreciation is very lacking for what he does for me and my family.
Fourth on the list of things to give for Christmas and all year is happiness. We cannot make people happy if they don’t want to be. And it is difficult to define happiness, but we all know what it is — or isn’t. Happiness comes from within our souls. Things cannot make us happy, but the thought of the gift makes the sun shine within us. If things and more things are all that make us cheerful and glad, then we need to re-examine ourselves because those things can be destroyed in one fire or one tornado or one flood. Then we have nothing to rely on. Think about it!
Forgiveness is fifth on the list of thoughtful Christmas gifts that keep on giving. Forgiveness is not for the other person but cleansing for the person who forgives. Holding a grudge or ill-will or malice is not hurting the other person at all, but it sure eats away at our hearts. We need to be tolerant and not let things said or done hurt our feelings. We need to rise above them and truly forgive and forget!
Truth and honesty are sixth on my list of the most important things in life. I was taught honesty at all cost. My brother would go hungry before he would owe one person a penny. Whatever he says is gospel truth. He is honest above reproach. In fact, he goes that extra mile to make sure he never cheats anyone or gives them the short end of the stick. I truly admire honesty in a person. Their handshake or nod or spoken word is as binding as a notarized document.
One of the greatest gifts of all is sharing. During my growing-up years, few had money. But we had everything we needed. We had love of family. We had a huge garden and a large orchard. We picked blackberries and plums in the pasture and never let anything go to waste. We had our own meat and eggs and milk, cream and butter. We worked hard to survive so never went hungry. There was always an abundance (or so I thought) because we always had a care package to take to a family or neighbor who was a little “down on their luck.” I was raised sharing and I love doing it. It makes everyone feel better — the giver and the getter.
Integrity is a very important gift to receive and give — and have. Integrity is fairness, frankness, honesty, justice, openness, responsibility, sincerity, trustworthiness and dependability. Those with integrity are a tribute to their families and everyone. They make life wonderful.
There is no time like Christmas to show compassion to others. It is not a seasonal gift though. Compassion should be a part of what makes us who we are. Every day, if we look around us, we will find someone who needs our mercy and care. There will always be someone worse off that we are, or more sick, or with less material things or less liked or loved. We must learn to feel what they are feeling and hurt when they hurt. We must not pass them by but give a bit or ourselves to someone less fortunate. It is a present we give ourselves to help someone else.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me. Peace is the 10th gift that we need to experience and have all year. Peace means to be stress-free, calm, quiet, silent, still and tranquil. It starts inside and spreads to the outside to those around us. This is the time of year when so many people get impatient, agitated, angry and turbulent. Don’t let them or anything take your joy.
Have peace and and love and all the other most important things in life and you will experience the most beautiful Christmas season and new year ever — and you will be blessed.
Christmas just isn’t Christmas without these cookies. The dough can be made a few days ahead and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Cookies for Santa
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sorghum
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
one teaspoon cinnamon
Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and sorghum. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Make into long roll, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake. When ready to bake, slice in 3/8-inch thick pieces or roll out flat and cut into Christmas shapes. Bake 8-10 minutes in 375-degree oven. If icing, wait until they cool completely.
May you and your dear ones have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. God bless us everyone!
Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.