It’s a frenzied time. The holiday season is filled with preparations, parties and programs. Buying, baking, decorating, wrapping, and welcoming guests from afar, we anticipate the arrival of Christmas and Hanukkah but are often relieved when it is over. It’s a frenzied time of the year. So, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Am I making time for what matters most?”
A few years ago my wife and I watched our beautiful grandchildren tearing open Christmas gifts, setting them aside, ripping off the beautiful paper on the next one, setting it aside and repeating the fury until there were no more gifts under the tree. We reflected on that annual tradition and realized those gifts would just be added to a playroom full of other toys and eventually end up in the attic, or at a yard sale, or in the landfill. As an adult, I now can scarcely recall any gift received as a child from my parents or grandparents. But I have heaps of memories of special times, trips and traditions.
We made a decision that day, some two years ago now. We would be intentional about making memories instead of loading landfills. We would make time for what matters most.
The next year, with the exception of a small gift for the grandkids and a few inexpensive stocking stuffers, we invested in a weekend together in the oldest city of America–St. Augustine, FL. We toured Castillo De San Marcos, as cannons and muskets were fired in reenactment by men dressed in colonial attire. We hired two horse-drawn carriages and explored the beautifully decorated historic sites of this quaint city. We all ate an evening outdoor dinner together at a nice upscale restaurant near the brightly-lighted decked-to-the-hilt town square. Memories were made. I doubt if they can remember what gift we gave them, but our grandchildren can still tell you the names of the horses and the drivers from our carriage ride.
This year, since we were granted a fully-funded sabbatical during the summer which included planning a legacy week at the Oregon Coast with our children and grandchildren, we toned down our holiday celebration just a bit. And due to work schedules, we celebrated ThanksMas weekend at our home. We held a massive sleepover, roasted marsh mellows and made Smores over a newly created backyard fire pit, chartered a boat to Cabbage Key for lunch, took a hike on the island and returned to mainland. We made time for what matters most.
Pause today and reflect. Are you planning your holiday activities to make time for what matters most? For certain, your love for God and people are what really count in the end. Most all of the other stuff that takes our time, talent and treasure will fade, falter and fail. Family and faith matter most.
Here’s my suggestion. Don’t wait to leave a legacy. So many think their legacy starts the day they die. Start living your legacy now. You can actually live your legacy and love it along the way. Why wait until the end to leave a legacy and miss out on it? Why not leverage this holiday season as a time to make memories. Begin a new tradition. Make time for what matters most.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. And a blessed memory-making, legacy-living New Year!
QUESTION: What traditions do you have in your family for making memories? I’d love to hear them in the comment section below!