He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith
I have been having trouble feeling Christmasy this year, in fact, I am kind of in a funk. It’s as if there is a void in my spirit that can’t quite grasp the season that is upon us. I find this lack of enthusiasm frustrating. I am feeling sad that I am missing out on the joy that has, for my entire life, permeated the weeks approaching Christmas. This lack of enthusiasm was poignant this morning from the moment I awoke and opened my eyes to the first day of my eleven day winter vacation and found myself, knowing that I needed to go out and finish my shopping, wishing I had to work today.
I enjoy my job these days more than I have in many years. I am being challenged in a way that is utilizing many of my skills, in ways that is stretching me to grow. This, I believe, is because my current boss both appreciates my contribution and believes in the programs I am attempting to put into place, programs designed to help our direct reports become fully engaged in their work by fully utilizing the unique gifts and talents they bring through the door every morning. I am trying to create a work force that feels enthusiastic about their work, that feels valued by Management, that feels energized when they walk through the door each day. One would think having such a great work life would inch me toward the Christmas spirit but that has not been the case.
As I was dressing to go to the stores, I was reminiscing about Christmas’ past. When my kids were young, I was the one that went to the stores and did the majority of the shopping for their presents. I enjoyed matching the gifts to their individual personalities. This gift hunting was something passed down to me by mom. I also wrapped the gifts and wrote out the tags. The tags were written with more than just a name and would give a hint to what the nature of the present. For instance, this year I am giving my 7 year old grandson a Barcelona soccer kit and the tag will be, “To: Luke Messi, From: Pep Guardiola”. Deciphered, Luke is my Grandson’s name, Messi is the greatest player on the planet and a favorite of my grandson, and Pep is the coach of the team. He will get a kick out of the tag name and the gift.
This year I did most of my shopping on line. It saved me time and money and was done from the warmth of my bed but did not give me the opportunity to enjoy the bustle of the crowd, to see the holiday displays, to hear the Christmas carols, in short, I missed the out on the opportunity to bask in the experience of the season, not the reason for the season, but the experience of the season that I had enjoyed for as long as I can remember.
By 8:00 am I was on the road and shopping for the few remaining gifts I wanted to get for my loved ones. The first store was not yet open so, frustrated, I went to the local mega store to get some things needed for my home. At the mega store, I was looking for a small, Swiss arm, pocket knife for my grandson but they did not have it in stock. More frustration. The next two stores went better. First a sporting good store then a book store.
The book store had holiday displays and holiday music and I started feeling a bit more merry. At the book store, I perused the aisles for about an hour for a couple of books to match the reading styles of two different people. I found two that I think will be enjoyed by the recipients. Approaching the checkout, I came to a display of book marks. Here is where I tipped over the hump and started feeling Christmasy. I found book marks to go with the books with sayings that, I felt, were perfect for the recipients.
I am feeling a bit more in the spirit but not quite there yet. Tonight I will be attending church with my family. At church, there will be Christmas decorations, Christmas music and a Christmas message. At church, I will be celebrating the real reason for the season, the birth of my Lord and Savior, celebrating the birth of the one that pulled my out of the abyss I created for myself when I was in my early 30s. At church, I expect my heart will finally be filled with the holiday spirit.