By Sadie Curtin
Merry Christmas everyone …as you are reading this I sincerely hope you are sitting cozy by a fire, near loved ones, and full of joy on this beautiful holiday. Assuming all your gifts have been exchanged, I challenge you to consider giving just three more. These gifts do not require a chaotic trip to the mall or an overnight shipping fee, but they may be the most meaningful gifts you give this holiday season. When I stop to think about Christmas celebrations of years passed, I am always a bit regretful that I wasn’t more present to the moment, so I am going to do my best to give the following gifts in order to change that this Christmas season…
The first gift is attentiveness. In order to give the gift of attentiveness during these family gatherings and time reconnecting with old friends, I plan to give my full attention and time to the moment and person in front of me. It is not easy to do this, especially when the social media feeds begin filling up with beautiful pictures of trees, families, and holiday cheer. But, how wonderful would it be if we could actually capture these moments through the memory of a great laugh with a cousin or a meaningful conversation with a grandparent? I am hoping to gift attentiveness to those in front of me, not on my screen…that attention can be given in the days that follow Christmas.
The second gift is pause. There are very few things that are more chaotic and time consuming than the days surrounding Christmas. There's never enough time in the day to fit everything in before the 25th and then next thing you know you turn around and do the same leading up to the New Year. In this time, I hope to give myself and those around me the gift of pause. Perhaps my pause will happen in the form of prayer, Christmas Eve liturgy, a nap with my dog, or just a quiet winter walk around my childhood neighborhood. Whatever it may be, a pause is exactly what I need this holiday, so I plan to take full advantage of the time to recharge and energize for the new year ahead. I am also hoping a pause will center me on the true meaning of Christmas to see/be Christ in/for others.
The third gift is gratitude. Christmas is the time of year that often reminds us of how much we are loved and blessed in our lives, so why not top it off with a heartfelt thank you this year. The two most important thank yous for me this year include a prayer of gratitude to God for all life’s blessings and the gift of Christ in our world, and the second to my family for their constant love, support, and encouragement. It’s my thought that I probably do not say thank you as much as I could, so this Christmas season I am making it my goal to overuse those two words in my prayer and with those I celebrate with. I figure it can’t hurt but only help reveal my genuine and sincere gratitude for life’s beauty.
Enjoy this beautiful season and maybe consider giving three more gifts because I have a feeling they will greatly impact your own spirit and all those you encounter this Christmas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sadie Curtin is the Co-Director of Faith Formation at the Church of the Gesu and a graduate student of Pastoral and Theological Studies at Ursuline College. She is a lover of travel and new adventures, but is proud to call Cleveland home. She fills her time with laughter, singing, enjoying sweet treats, and most recently running -- all because someone asked her to share in The Living Person challenge!