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True celebration of the holidays is about the sharing of one's time

By Jane Wildung Lanphere, executive director, Luverne Area Chamber

So here we are again, one of my favorite times of the year — Christmas. Christmas is that magical time of Santa, toys, children, trees, tinsel, elves, Rudolph, carols and turkey.
When I hear the words “It was the night before Christmas” or the melody of “Joy to the World, “ I still get thrills of delight as I think of the children waiting for Santa to come down the chimney and the congregations of people celebrating the birth of a babe in a lonely manger.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you celebrate Christmas. You might even worship a different kind of God, but the lessons of this season apply to all of us—no matter where we live, how we grew up or what we believe. The most valuable lesson of this holiday is about the spirit of giving and receiving.
It is always good to remember that to truly celebrate the holidays, we need to spend some personal time identifying the true priorities of our lives.
Should Christmas be a time when we are tired and frustrated by all the things we think we have to do and accomplish? Should Christmas be a time when we “burn the candle at both ends” trying to finish our list? Should Christmas be a time when we don’t have enough time to spend with our family because we put so many other things first?
We know that Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, a time to remember others less fortunate than ourselves, peace in the world, a time for families to end their quarrels and come together, a time to celebrate those things that are most important to us.
So this holiday season, let’s give a rich gift to ourselves and to our families. Let’s reach out to the people of this community who can receive the most wonderful gift by simply spending some time with them.
Let’s sit back and celebrate the reason for the season by heeding a few simple lessons:
•Ask yourself when you last gave your time to someone you didn’t know very well. Ask yourself how it felt, or if you have never done it, ask yourself why. Then go out and make a new connection and bring joy to someone else.
•Spend time reflecting on how easy it is to give a dollar for a good cause. Give some thought to how much more difficult it is to give a minute of your time.
•Each day, when you wake up, no matter how difficult it might be for you, think of someone you know who might be in need of a minute of your time, and call them, or pay them a visit.
There are many sad and lonely people out there, wondering where the true spirit of Christmas is. The best gift you could give them is to show them. This is a gift for them and it will also be a gift for you. Spend a minute, hour or a day giving of yourself to someone who is lonely, and the thrill of Christmas will live in your heart from that time forward.

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