Wow - a new year is coming! Time for new beginnings, new looks, bright ideas, fresh starts....and a "new" blog site! While doing my holiday baking, shopping, wrapping, and crafting, I was also designing and laying out plans for the new "look" and format you see here.
The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is actually a time that I personally cherish. While the major excitement of Christmas is over...the presents opened and put away, the traveling and visiting (pretty much) completed, the food eaten (and left-overs almost gone!), and the kids are still home on break enjoying their spoils from Santa, I've developed a habit over the years of using this week to reflect and re-direct.
While I've always known that I did this, it didn't really occur to me until a few days ago that it had become an annual "habit." I often find myself lost in thought and reflection - the "hulla-ba-loo" of Christmas preparations overwith, and the calendar not as busy! Without going through the actual motion of writing down New Year's resolutions, the week following Christmas finds many of us in not just a "let down" from all the Christmas festivities, but in a state of reflection and planning. I believe those of us who are old enough and mature enough, really understand the importance and gravity of what it means to have another opportunity to "start over" and begin again....in a new year.
This might be one reason I (personally) am not in any rush to remove all my Christmas decorations and trimmings. I almost always wait until the weekend after New Year's Eve to take everything down and put it away. The year isn't actually "over" yet, and I like to remember - just a little while longer, anyway - what Christmas is really about, and why I'm thankful for the holiday. I still feel the smiles, the excitement, the happiness, the love....the recent memory is a shining example of all that is right; of all that I have to be thankful for.
The world of retail is in a huge rush to tear any remnant of Christmas down. I actually witnessed this...I made the ridiculous attempt of returning an item the day after Christmas, and doing a little "bargain hunting." All the stores I entered were tearing down every bit of Christmas...one store even had a couple of aisles blocked off from customers while they stacked the shelves full of Valentine's Day items! How ironic that they can't wait to get the decor up (sometimes at Halloween!), and can't wait to get it down! It's all about moving from one holiday sale to the next....
This week, in the midst of all the left-overs, trash, and cleaning up, I'm continuing to remember
my blessings and "the reason for the season." I'm also re-directing and double-checking my priorities and personal goals - not in just the obvious areas that need improvement mind you, (like weight loss and leading a healthier life-style!); but those areas of spiritual growth and personal development where I might have come up "short" during the previous year. Determining where and how we need to make personal changes and improvements can take some time, and certainly a long, honest look into our inner selves. Taking time to slow down helps accomplish inner-reflection, and these few days - where many of us are still taking time off - are perfect for relaxing and reflecting, our calendars "in-between" holidays and empty of the usual schedules.
What better way to begin a new year than in a spirit of thankfulness, with a refreshed willingness to begin again? While the birth of Christ may be celebrated only once a year, the reason He came is cause for us to greet each New Year, each month, each week, each day...in Joy and thanksgiving. These few days leading up to "the next holiday" don't have to be boring or hectic - may you continue to bask in the warmth of family and friends this week, and in the "after-glow" of Christmas!
Pay it forward - spread a smile!