So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
As promised somewhere in these 31 days (I simply cannot find it now...), here's my list of ways to take back moments each day that will result in our enjoying the (Holiday) season a little more fully without adding to our costs or stress or endless 'to do lists".
1. Go to your spice rack, pick up the cinnamon and cloves, close your eyes, sniff and for 15 seconds. Whisper your gratitude for the season to come.
2. Today go out your front door or onto balcony, take your sweater but don’t put it on, let the cold, crisp air really hit you. Then go back inside to the warmth and put your sweater on. Whisper your gratitude that you have heat in your home today.
3. When you buy your groceries today, buy an extra can or two for the food drive at your church, school, etc. Whisper your gratitude that you can.
4. When you arrive home at night, and the house is lit up. Sit for 20 seconds and just enjoy it, don’t focus on what you’d do differently with more money or time, just enjoy it. Whisper your thanks.
5. At the end of the day, turn off all the lights but those on the tree. Sit in the light of the tree for a bit and give thanks.
6. After you’ve made your favourite soup or stew, etc – sit down with your bowl but wait a second before you start eating. Remember why it’s a favourite and savor the first bite. Whisper your thanks.
7. When you receive a card in the mail, don’t open it right away, wait until you have 30 seonds or more, preferably with a cup of tea, sit down, think about the sender, their friendship and what it means to you – then open it and enjoy. Whisper your thanks.
8. Take a minute today to think about those who will not be with you this season. Let your heart be softened by the sadness, and then whisper your gratitude.
9. Find the nearest child, sit with them, listen to them and enjoy the splendour through their eyes today. Whisper your thanks.
10. In a dark room, light a candle (scented if you like); reflect on how the darkness is displaced when a light is shining, no matter how small. Whisper your thanks.
11. When a fresh snow is falling, go outside and try to catch a snowflake on your tongue, take someone along and you’ll laugh too. Whisper your thanks.
12. When you are shopping in a mall where Christmas music is playing, take a second to just sit down on a bench and listen to the song and watch the shoppers going by. Whisper your thanks.
13. If you come across a fire burning in the hearth of your home, or someone else’s, take a moment to sit by the fire. Let the warmth touch your face. Whisper your thanks.
14. Eat a candy cane, really slow (make sure it’s fresh). Whisper your thanks.
15. When you wake up in the morning, don’t rush out from under the covers right away, linger a moment in that early morning peace and whisper your thanks.
16. When something pretty and sparkly catches your eye, stop long enough to really enjoy it. Whisper your thanks.
17. When walking to your car, enjoy the crunch of fallen leaves or snow. Whisper your thanks.
18. When you come across a frosted window, scratch a greeting into it J Smile to yourself.
19. Read Matthew 11:28-30 and reflect. Then read Luke 2: 10-14 and reflect.
20. Call someone at an hour when you know they won't be home and leave a brief message of love on their voice mail. Wish them A Happy Holiday season.
21. Take a walk to the mailbox, or the end of your driveway or to the foyer of your apartment building and as you go, hold hands with one of your children. Whisper your thanks.
22. Pull out a favourite classic and take a few minutes to just reflect on why you love it so much. Set aside some time later to read a chapter or two.
23. Put a Christmas ornament in your car, hang it from the dashboard and be merry. The sillier the better.
24. When you hear your favourite Christmas carol or song come on at home, sing along, at the top of your lungs whether you can sing or not. Enjoy the release of joy.
25. Whenever you can, pay it forward. Leave some parking time on your meter for the next guy, pay for the coffee of the guy in line behind you in the drive-thru, tip the server - spread the holiday cheer and it will follow you wherever you go.
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17
Just a side note, there are things that you could do to fully immerse yourself in enjoyment of the season that take longer (go for a long walk in the snow, take in a musical or ballet or variety show, go to mass or a church service, watch a favourite old movie, etc) The obvious reason they didn't make this list, is that I was giving you tips for quick 30 second "moment's" to refocus or recenter ourselves and truly enjoy our days more fully this year.
I have really enjoyed this challenge and am looking forward to many more posts that I've been reflecting on outside of this 31 days series this past month, but I am going to take a break for a few days first...