Where is the wonder?

Published 4:43 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Unfortunately, this most wonderful time of the year can be anything but wonderful. Overspending, overeating, and overbooking may leave little room for the joy of the season to fill our hearts. The baby from Bethlehem and his message for the world remain strangely silent when noise and stress crowd our minds. Confusion over the world’s portrayal of Christmas leaves us questioning. Is this all there is? Where is the wonder?

No matter how many or how few coins jingle in our pockets the almost obscene marketing ploys can get to us. I found myself caught up in the fray on black Friday. It was fun to be out and about with others shopping for that special gift. But honestly, I stood in line until my feet hurt and didn’t accomplish much at the end of the day.

One of my friends, Joy, is so good at finding special gifts. She makes up her list and shops sales all year. By the time Christmas rolls around Joy has either made or purchased really cool presents for those on her list. She enjoys planning and finding bargains at a fraction of the cost. When she turns the calendar page from November to the magic month Joy has time to focus on the things that matter most.

Books have been written telling us how to avoid overindulging our appetites for food and drink. One of the tricks is to eat a little something before a party. This is very good advice if we only eat when we are actually hungry. The problem is many of the goodies are so temping it’s easy to throw caution to the wind. Regret looms when we can’t squeeze into our favorite jeans at the end of the season.

It’s not too late to think about giving ourselves the gift of good health by eating sensibly throughout the rest of this year. I’m hosting the annual Christmas party for my writer’s club and plan to serve both yummy and healthy alternatives to the more traditional calorie laden ones. Many of the tried and true favorites can be lightened up by making a few changes. It really is possible to eat more wisely without giving up flavor.

Overbooking is also a temptation. Smartphones make it simpler to keep our calendars up to date, but inevitably two or three events will fall on the same day. The key here is to choose one event, which is hard for many of us. In an attempt to keep everyone happy we often run from place to place without slowing down enough to truly enjoying ourselves.

The wonder of Christmas isn’t in the shopping; it isn’t in the food, or the parties. It can’t be found in the hustle and bustle of preparation. In moderation, all these things are good, but in the end they leave us wanting. The wide-eyed wonder slips in silently only when we tire of the trappings and quietly reflect on the gift of that silent night so long ago.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.