‘Tis the Season…

Although it seems like a month-long hiatus from Gain Great Health, my (almost) week-long absence has been filled with a very important aspect of the season…spending quality time with the people I care about (and not a computer!).  Instead of rushing home to upload my next blog entry, I have engaged in meaningful conversations and spent valued moments with my close family members and friends.  The media often focuses on the seemingly more exciting aspects of the season such as eating and shopping, and I couldn’t even help but feed into this with my previous “Beat the Holiday Bulge” entry!  But the reality is that 25% off deals and the decadent holiday treats (or avoidance of them), are merely secondary to the true meaning of the season.  If you are Christian, you’re (or should be) celebrating the birth of Jesus; if you are Jewish, you’re supposedly commemorating the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem; if you celebrate Kwanzaa, you are reconnecting to your African roots and recognizing the struggles of American American people; and if you’re a Santa and Rudolph celebrator, well….you either have kids (and fail to provide explanations) or are rehashing unfulfilled childhood moments.  And the New Year is meant to be celebrated as we enter a new year of possibilities.

I consider Thanksgiving the beginning of an entire season when we can recognize and celebrate what we are grateful for.  Perhaps an ungrateful and typically self-centered culture such as ours needs an entire season to reiterate what’s important in life!  We live in a culture where people are generally more angered by non-working cable or interrupted Internet connection or by the person in front of us driving too slow than the millions of children across the world dying of hunger every year (but I digress…).  There is a lot in life to be grateful for, for which we should all count our blessings.  Although this should be done everyday, this heart-warming season is a great time to start.  

No matter what your religious affiliation (or non-affiliation!), the importance of human connection is undeniable.  Although technology and other advancements have drawn us further from each other (I’m sure others could argue otherwise), I strongly believe that we are inherently meant to belong and help others in need.  We are not meant to live as islands, alone in the vast ocean of life.

This weekend, I came across a heart- and spirit-warming news story about a real life “Secret Santa.”  During each holiday season, the unidentified man gives out $100 bills to strangers.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had the luxury to give away $100’s at a time!
When the news reporter asks the “Secret Santa” whether or not he cares what the individuals do with the money, he replies that he doesn’t judge others and that this fact does not concern him.  In my case, I pray that the individual doesn’t self-destruct by buying drugs or alcohol with the understanding that we all have unknown, oftentimes painful life stories; whether or not my prayers are answered is not for me to know.  At a time when debit card use is becoming the norm and the use of cash is becoming more and more obsolete, giving (money) to those in need is becoming more difficult.  Regardless, this season is a reminder to give what you can to the less fortunate.  It certainly doesn’t have to be money; food or a warm piece of clothing will certainly help.  Likewise, putting things into perspective, a $1 here or there or even $5-10 may be easier to spare than you think, especially considering a $9 sandwich from Cosi’s or a $10 salad from the neighborhood deli. And although it may not be $100, 9 times out of 10, it will be appreciated (well OK, 8 out 10; I’m sure we’ve all had the encounter when someone turns down your generosity, but don’t let that dismay you!).

Aside from shopping and eating, re-define what the season means to you.  ‘Tis the season__________________________.  You fill in the rest!

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