2023 December 26 The real meaning of Christmas and the Holiday Season

Dec 26, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about the real joys of Christmas and family holidays. So let's get started. If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like, tell your friends. 


Tonight's about looking beyond the obvious commercial side of Christmas and the whole holiday season and really seeing the good that can still be found. We talked about one aspect of that last week in terms of finding the true meaning without judging other people by sharing the real excitement and the joy of this season in all situations. 


Tonight I'm going to talk about some of the great things that happened while I was spending my Christmas with my children, my grandchildren, and what really impressed me about that. But first I'm going to tell you all the things that we're not going to talk about tonight, because I already wished everyone a wonderful holiday season last week, so that obviously continues through the week and all of next year.


We're not going to review the past year, because I no longer do my news summary show, so there's no point in going over the news. You're perfectly capable of looking at it and making your own decisions. I might do the show again at some point in the future, but for now, each of us should really work on finding the good that happened in the year, and acknowledging the challenges, and learn from that.


We most certainly aren't going to talk about New Year's resolutions. Remember we talked about why the best time to start a great plan is today, right now, and putting it off just opens up the possibility of not starting for some arbitrary reason.


So starting today eliminates that problem completely. New Year's resolutions don't do anything. Resolutions, we don't do resolutions. Remember, what we do are SMART goals, because those lead us to our vision. That's far more powerful and also more sustainable. 


Remember, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable or actionable. You don't want to make your goal something silly that obviously you can't do. It really has to be actionable. You can't just say, I want to be rich. What's rich? I want more money. Here's a dollar. Now you've reached your goal. It has to be something you can actually do and make progress on. It has to be relevant. Something that really ties in with your vision and your plans. It should be a reach goal, something that stretches you. Not something trivial, but not something outrageous that you couldn't possibly do.


So the achievable and the reach go together and bound how big it should be. It should be something significant. And T is time based, something with a deadline. We know about SMART goals, and that's what we're all about, so we're not going to do New Year's Resolutions.  


If that's what I'm not going to talk about, then what's tonight's subject? It's about two things. Community is one of them, and genuine appreciation of what's important. The two go hand in hand, but they're slightly different.  


When I travel, I always go to a Spanish language mass wherever I happen to be. II've met some really wonderful people and communities that way. Now, some of you are saying, I know many Roman Catholic churches and they're not the most friendly places to hang out with and meet people. That's one of the things that pretty much every other Christian denomination and many other faiths do better than the Catholics for whatever reason.


That lack of obvious community, is really more an artifact of North American behavior than the church itself. When I go to a Spanish mass and explain to almost anyone I meet that I'm traveling for some reason and start talking about work or family, I'm almost always welcomed.


It's actually very different than when you go to an English speaking mass, so it's obviously not Catholicism that's different, but the attitude of the people that's different. This is exactly what happened on this trip. It's a church I've attended before, but not for a year, and I had a number of really nice conversations this year with a few people. Everyone was very pleasant.


The way the schedules worked out, I was at a different mass than I had wanted to attend initially, but that allowed me to meet and chat with the designer of the brand new audio system they had, which replaced the one that got blown up by a direct lightning hit in the past year. We had a nice long chat about both the audio and the video systems, and now I have many new ideas for my local church.


If you remain open minded in your life as to why things happen to you, you'll often find that the unexpected is a surprise path towards progress. In this case, it was aided a bit because I was in a community that I felt comfortable with, so I was upbeat and met these people and things just happened.


I think that's the second part about community and community support. By being upbeat, instead of annoyed or even not going. I was able to greatly extend my context to include someone doing exactly what I was working on and moving me further along towards one of my goals. This isn't about me per se, but rather about trying to keep an open mind when life changes unexpectedly. Remember, luck is often just recognizing opportunities that many other people have seen but didn't pay attention to. It's as true in life as it is in business.  


The second topic was the family Christmas. First off, I have an awesome family. I'm unbiased in that. Honestly, they're just awesome. Across the whole age span, everyone is just really spectacular people, and for that, I'm always grateful. Like in many households, Christmas this year was a bit scaled back. Inflation is hardly news to anybody. It's not like Santa didn't come, but let's just say he took the small sleigh this year.


I know many households where this would be a major issue of calamity. But, with this awesome crew, it had been discussed, and everyone was really focused on all the other fantastic things that were going on. One of the grandkids was home on a surprise leave, which of course made everyone super happy.


Everyone got to spend a lot of time hanging out, playing games together, doing puzzles, watching favorite movies. There was a ton of home cooking of favorite meals and when all was said and done, it was a fabulous Christmas. That was, in part, because that family has always been more interested in the family part of Christmas and not the gift part.


That's something that has to be learned, especially when every possible advertising spot on every possible media channel is telling you how some random trinket is so important to have in your life. They really don't focus on that. Here, the focus is on all the great things they could do together and not all the things they could get. That's what the holidays are really all about. Things are fun, but happiness from gifts is fleeting, and it comes and goes, and goes away quickly. However, the happiness from being with those you care for, that brings true joy.


It's the people you care for, that care for you, and that's something lasting. It doesn't get old in a couple of weeks or when you see somebody else got a bigger toy than you did. Having your family and all those memories will support you through life's challenges.


That's the real spirit of Christmas, all the family holidays. Remember, there's a whole bunch of holidays around this season, and a lot of them have things like meals as part of the tradition. It's really bringing people together and remembering the family - and if you don't have family, the friends and people who are working together towards a common goal and supporting each other in life. I hope you remember that. When you look at life that way, and look at the holidays that way, you get a lot more meaning out of them, and that meaning stays with you for a lot longer.


So that's it for tonight. I truly hope your Christmas and holiday season has been excellent thus far and continues to be. I especially wish you a wonderful New Year and encourage you to think about your vision and SMART goals. That's why you're here. 


So your homework (always optional) is to think about what things stood out for you this past Christmas and holiday season. If the first things that come to mind are not uplifting, then keep thinking back and try to find at least one thing that you would consider as a positive thing. Extra points then, if you take that list, even if it's only one item, and think about how next year you can help make more of those happy moments.


Write it down on a real list on a piece of paper, and tape it to next year's calendar for December 1st. When you turn it over, when Thanksgiving is done and you turn that page over, there it is waiting for you. This is what I can do to hopefully make this Christmas, this holiday season, even a little better than it was last year.


That's it for the evening. Please remember the war in Ukraine and everywhere the disasters and suffering are happening. There are links to donation sites at UKR7.com. The link to the World Central Kitchen is WCK.org, where they do a lot of good in the world to feed people in disaster zones.


As I always say, if you don't want to support some place like that, support a local charity. If you can't afford it, just be pleasant to somebody you meet on the street as you're walking around. It can change their day and just bring a little more happiness into the world. So if you can and you're able, try and support whatever way you feel most comfortable with. Remember, thinking outside of yourself tends to bring you more joy and your focus into the world in general.


So that's it. Happy New Year to everyone. As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear about. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you. 


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