by Stacey Schifferdecker
I remember watching a Sesame Street Christmas special a few years ago when Elmo wishes it could be Christmas every day. Of course, he soon realizes that Christmas every day really wouldn't be a good idea: people need to work, sing other songs, celebrate other holidays, and generally have a break from the whirlwind that Christmas often becomes. But how about the Christmas spirit – the love, kindness, and generosity we often find overflowing at Christmas? Can we help keep that Christmas spirit alive for our children all year long? Absolutely! And it may be easier than you think. The key is to model the Christmas spirit to our children every day in our own behavior.
I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
Kindness is easy to practice all year long. If you have a big cart of groceries, let the person with just a few items go ahead of you. Hold a door open for the people behind you. Speak politely to everyone and refrain from gossip.
Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Showing compassion often means something as simple as cutting people some slack. It's far too easy to look askance at the mother whose child is having a meltdown in the grocery store; to become impatient with a co-worker who just doesn't get what you are trying to explain, or to become angry at the car that cuts you off in traffic. Before you vent your anger, take a deep breath and consider what else might be going on. Maybe that child missed a nap today or has lost his favorite blanket. Maybe your co-worker isn't feeling well or had a fight with her husband this morning. Maybe that driver honestly didn't see you. Show your children how to look compassionately at a situation from the other person's point of view.
you feel like you are forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, here are five easy ways to remember what the Christmas season is really all about.
When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it.
In the Douglas Adam's book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, people who enter the Total Perspective Vortex are driven mad when they see how small they are when compared to the universe. Of course, we don't want our children to be driven mad, but a little perspective never hurts: a reminder that yes, you are a special, loved child of God – but so is everyone else.
Humility is tough to practice and tougher to teach. After all, who doesn't want their child to be the best and the brightest, the star of every show, the winner of every contest? It starts, I think, by being truly happy for the good things in other people's lives. Congratulate the child who gets to be Mary in the church Christmas pageant and help your own child be the best angel possible. (And conversely, if your child is Mary, help her curb her enthusiasm until she is home, lest her friends accuse her of bragging.)
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
Gratitude is closely related to humility. God has given us so many gifts, most of which we take for granted. Family, friends, homes, health – all of these are gifts from God. Every day, be thankful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don't have.
Christmas is fun, but no one really wants the festivities of Christmas to happen every day. But by practicing the Christmas spirit every day, we can enrich our lives throughout the whole year.
Stacey Schifferdecker is the happy but harried mother of three school-aged children—two boys and a girl. She is also a freelance writer, a Children’s Minister, a PTA volunteer, and a Scout leader. Stacey has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and French and a Master’s degree in English. She has written extensively about parenting and education as well as business, technology, travel, and hobbies.
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