And yes, it’s the season to be jolly, too! In spite of ‘flu bugs and other nasties that seem to hang around waiting for us to actually take a break from our overscheduled (read: crazed) lives so they can jump in. Gotcha! And if we are overextended, it might be our own fault, so we shouldn’t wear it as a badge of honor. No one is going to reward us for being hopelessly exhausted all the time, especially not those who want to pile more on us. Of course, we have to survive. That’s a given, but beyond that, let’s not forget our bodies are mortal and need regular rest.
I know some people aren’t able to get ‘flu shots at all but I can’t imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t got mine. I say that every year but this year is proving to be sicklier than most for whatever reason(s). There’s nothing quite like sipping the blessing of chicken noodle soup when what I really want is a good hot chocolate. But I’m not really complaining. There are those who cannot get chicken noodle soup even when that’s what they need, and most of us don’t ever want to go back to being in that situation.
Trying to think with a fever is another challenge. At the best of times, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.” (This is attributed to Henry Ford, though he had various versions of it). Action is constantly required in life but we need to think before we act, so we don’t cause ourselves more problems instead of improving our lives. But when we’re sick, we really need to be nice to ourselves and even postpone the actual thinking, never mind any action we might take.
We have so many blessings in spite of misfortunes and they come to mind more readily at this joyous season. Life is made up of many turns of Fate that are often unpleasant to deal with. And I’m not Pollyanna enough to jump for joy every time something goes wrong. Keep those nutcases away from me, please! I’d rather be around actual human beings on this earth. In the long run, I know I’ll learn, grow and gain strength from not having things go the way I want them – even need them – to go right now, but for the short-term, puh-lease, give me a break.
This is the season of gift-giving, in remembrance of the Magi who took gifts to the Christ child. We put our dollar bills or loose change into the Salvation Army red kettles, knowing that they will not waste those precious donations. They can’t help everyone and it hurts when some are turned away. But good charities working together mean more hope and more miracles. Everyone who is helped is one soul whose suffering is eased. And it won’t hurt us to give a dollar directly to a non-aggressive homeless person either.
And for those out there who think it’s cool to steal a donation kettle, it isn’t cool. It will come back to bite you so hard in the backside, you’ll be screaming for relief unless you repent and make restitution.
We also contribute to those kind-hearted groups who collect toys for children and it makes my blood boil when TV news reports that the storage buildings have been broken into and most or all of the toys have been stolen. Donors or others should not have to replace them, even though someone usually does. Given our location, I suspect many stolen toys end up south of the border, and poor, innocent children there have no understanding of where the toys came from or how.
And speaking of gifts, right now, suddenly, we have rain, blessed rain. Those who have never lived with drought probably don’t understand what a gift this is. And we also have rain predicted for Christmas Day itself. Perhaps later in the season, we will have too much if El Niño fulfills its promise and threat. But parched, dying things need water now. Some blessings require patience but a dying land can’t wait, except when God is making a statement. And no one on this earth is qualified to argue with Him over that! Anyone can ask or beg, respectfully. But we cannot dictate.
The greatest gift we have received is the gift of Hope. Because of God’s gift to us of His Only Begotten Son, we all have Hope that if we follow the Savior, our immortal lives will be joyous as we reunite with those who have gone on ahead of us. Because of Christ’s Atonement for our sins, everyone has received the gift of immortality. But the quality of that immortality may not be what we want or expect at all, if we have lived sinful or hate-filled lives and have not repented of the bad we have done in the world.
So in this season of rejoicing and gift-giving, we can also be jolly, as we savor the Joy and Hope of the world.