When we were kids, it was easy, at least for those of us fortunate enough to have a Christmas, to find the joys of Christmas. Christmas carols, Christmas gifts, Santa Claus, nuts, fruit, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, Christmas trees, decorations...on and on I can go, just thinking about it. Now I'm grown, my Christmases are different than they used to be, my focus has changed. And the same can be said of Hanukkah, and it's traditions. Or what ever you celebrate this holiday season.
My best and most joyful Christmases were with my daughter, when she was young. Sending her off to bed on Christmas Eve, when she believed that Santa was coming down the chimney, the joy and the trust shining out from her face as I tucked her into bed was priceless. Listening to her singing carols, her excitement when we trimmed the tree, her face enrapt as she listened to all those Christmas stories I would tell. It was not hard to feel the magic. Now I'm even more grown, my daughter is grown, our Christmases are different than they used to be, and my focus has changed once again.
I am blessed, I am fortunate enough to have friends and family who will be sharing my Christmas with me, sharing my tree, sharing my turkey, my pudding and my gift giving. I am blessed that I have people in my life who care about me, love and trust me, and who believe in me.
Every Christmas, my team and I take a family, one who's Christmas will not be so joyful, due to difficult circumstances, and we try to bring some joy into their lives. We buy Christmas gifts, we make a Santa sack, one each for the kids and one for the parents, and we try to make their Christmas better than it might have been without our help. In doing this, we find the joy of giving for ourselves.
This is what Christmas is all about. The idea of giving to others, in whatever way we can, and in finding the joy in life.
So many people live without joy. So many people are so wrapped up in life, in the problems they have, health issues, marriage problems, struggles with money, work related issues, and so on. It is easy to become so bogged down with life, that we forget that life is a precious gift, and so very, very short.
Our lesson this month is about helping ourselves and those around us to remember and to value the joys of Christmas, and the joys of life.
1:-Each day, for the next four weeks, take at least five minutes to reflect on the last twenty-four hours. Think hard about what you are trying to do. No matter how bad the day has seemed to be, think about the people you have spoken to, the news on the TV, a program you may have watched, the way you might have interacted with your friends and family.
2:-After your five minutes is up, write down your thoughts and feelings concerning your day. Give the day points. 1 = a bad day...10 = a good day. 1 = a day without joy of any kind, and 10 = a day full of joy.
3:-Now take five minutes to reflect on someone else's situation, someone who might have a worse or more difficult life than you. For example, the mother across the street who just lost a child or the family whose son or daughter is away at war. The family who just lost their father, and just three days later lost their mother too. The friend you know whose pet is sick. Take some time to reflect on another person. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment
4:-After your five minutes is up, write down your thoughts and feelings concerning their day. Give their day points. 1 = a bad day...10 = a good day. 1 = a day without joy of any kind, and 10 = a day full of joy.
5:-Take some time to reflect, both on your situation and on that of the person you have chosen other than yourself. Compare notes, look at both situations. Whose day might be less joyful, yours or theirs? If the answer is yours, ask yourself what you need to do to change things, to bring more joy into your life. If the answer is theirs, ask yourself what you can do help make their life a little more joyful.
6:-Search for those moments when you might have smiled, even if only for a second, look for that one comment from a friend which made you feel loved, even if it was for just a heartbeat, work on the seconds of time in your day when there was a little relief from pain, or fear, from loneliness or anxiety, and hold on to those seconds, realize those moments of joy, and begin to count your blessings, begin to count those moments, and see how they add up. See how much more joyful your day has been than you might have realized.
7:-Now find someone to share your conclusions with. Show a friend, tell a neighbor, call a sister or a brother. Find someone who will listen, get up on the web and share with this group. There we have found another joy, for we will see that we are not alone. How did they respond? Did you make their day a little brighter?
Yesterday, my day was a ten, even though I could have found many reasons why it should have been a 1. Today, my day will be a ten, no matter what happens, and tomorrow will be the same, for my life is full of many joys, and I am blessed. I am able to find humor, even when I am crying, I can see the positive side of most situations, I believe with all my heart that when God takes something from us, He always gives us something back It is this belief that sustains me, and gives me great joy..not just at Christmas, but every day of my life. I am blessed, and so I believe are we all. We just have to learn how to look.
Talk with community members about your thoughts on this month's lesson, or write us an account of your progress. We'd love to post it in our spotlight section for everyone to read.
Good luck and be ready for next month's lesson...
For more lessons and insights check back next month and also see our "Weekly Actions," posted, every week here in Own Your Power. Try, too, Rosemary's book, "You Own the Power." for more lessons about owning your power. Get this book and other Books and tapes by Rosemary in our online store.
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