When I was young, the holiday season typically lasted from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. But it doesn’t seem that way nowadays. We celebrate the holidays starting at Halloween and ending at the Super Bowl or Valentine’s Day. Think about this: all those activities surround food. It should be about celebrating family and friends, with food as a side dish, not the main course.
How did your family celebrate holidays? Did your family throw massive yearly parties? Did mom spoil you with abundant recipes for cookies, pies, brownies? Do you constantly bake treats because you failed to receive them as a child? Do you carry on habits simply because it’s tradition? Family times can be both joyful and also trying. (Tribulation worketh patience.)
“Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” (Psalm 50:5)
How we react around food has to do with how we were raised. I was poor growing up, therefore when I am at a buffet, I have a hard time stopping at just one plate of food. After all it might not be there tomorrow! It was only after I realized why I acted as I did, that I changed. So let’s discuss this important subliminal subject.
Adults habits have much to do with the environment we grew up in.
- Were holidays fun, expressive, over the top events where the entire family gathered together to celebrate around a table of immense bounty? Do they still represent happy, carefree times? We all want to recapture youth. Sometimes holidays are subconsciously more than an event, it reprises those days of security and innocence once again.
- Was it a time when Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Ethel arrived loaded down with gift packages and gave you sloppy kisses, embarrassing you to death? Do you carry guilt feelings from those days of ingratitude or a feeling of sadness, for those days are lost forever, except in your memory?
- Perhaps you came from a broken home where it was simply you, your mom and siblings watching holiday TV shows to pass the time? Now you’ve placed a shell around your heart and pretend “it doesn’t matter anyway” in a spirit of denial?
- Were you poor growing up, so having something home-made and from the someone’s heart means more than a Cartier watch?
- Or did your parents resent having little money to waste on gifts or family dinners, so you go overboard now to make up for it?
Seize moments to spread happiness. I will always regret a situation I allowed to pass me by. One of my money-challenged patients arrived at her appointment incredibly joyful about the large chicken her family would share at Thanksgiving. Inside my head, (God’s urging I’m sure) I thought of purchasing a large turkey and leaving it anonymously on her doorstep. I will always regret not acting on that small act of kindness.
How much do you spend on your holiday bounty now? Is it all about the presents or is time more important than money to you? Did you remain thrifty or demonstratively generous, creating too many recipes, possibly going into debt to make up for lost time? Are holidays even important?
Remember get-together’s are not about gifts and “stuff.” Stuff wears out – only love, kindness and memories are important. It pleases God when we appreciate the True Bounty He has given us, which is the greatest gift of all and asks nothing in return except Love. We strive for excellence because of our relationship and love for Him.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)