“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” -W. C. Jones
While the holidays are a time we can feel totally overwhelmed, it is also a time that we can feel accomplished. With so many “simple” things on the to-do-list around Christmas time, it can be encouraging to see task after task get crossed off. Buy Dad a gift. Put up the tree. Make a cobbler for that party. RSVP to Kristy’s dinner. When we have goals that involve others, especially those we love, and goals that put others first, it can feel very motivating. When we have deadlines, like we usually do around this time of year, we get things done.
Even though the season is commercially tainted with materialism and selfishness, for most of us, the “joy” during the holiday seasons comes from the bits of selflessness we express. At the end of the to-do-list is the smile on your husband’s face when he opens a thoughtful gift from you, or when your parents are thrilled that you made the road-trip up to your hometown to see them. When others benefit from your efforts it’s easier to judge those efforts as “worth it”, it’s easier to recognize your accomplishments, it feels good to have involved someone else. Have you noticed that your Christmas magic doesn’t come from the gift you RECEIVE?
Growing up, my family stopped giving gifts when I was about 12 years old, to get away from the commercialism of Christmas. It was good for getting off the ‘have to give’ treadmill and it has evolved to the joy of ‘wanting to give’.
I love it when this motivation, this spark of selflessness, and feelings of accomplishment spill over into the New Year for me. Even though New Years resolutions usually devour the idea of giving, what if we remembered the magic of Christmas and involved the selflessness theme into our goal making process?
How much more motivated would we feel if our goals made others happy too? How much easier can your material goals be accomplished if you set relational or moral-based goals that result in happier and better relationships and interactions? What if we set real deadlines and share them with others, so our accountability can be sparked by others.
I’m excited to consider all of these things, and observe everyones different motivations and feelings this season to see what I can take from it and how I can apply it in my life this coming year.
I encourage you to do the same, I’d love to hear any other perspectives you have on where this Christmas magic comes from and how we can learn from it!