We are now officially in the “Christmas Season” bringing with it the joys, stresses, anxieties, anticipations and disappointments that can come with any overinflated, long awaited “buildup”.

Commercially, we only have a few short weeks to prepare for this upcoming holiday.  Our Christmas “to do” list includes cookies to be baked, gifts to be purchased, trees to be decorated and parties planned.

Religiously the world is also in “ready mode”. Jewish people are prepping for Hanukkah with the treasured traditions of the lighting of the Menorah candles. Christian churches singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel“ celebrate this preparation time as “Advent”, commemorating the 4 weeks representing the 4,000 years longing for the birth of Jesus.

Spiritual leaders everywhere attempt to refocus the attention of the faithful to what “Really Matters” in this life, kind of like a wakeup call.

Especially during these busy days we need to remember the admonition that life is not about the destination, but “The Journey”.

With so many family, cultural and religious traditions, it’s easy to overlook the “Reason for the Season”. We all get in our little ruts and maintain the habits that numb our thinking and feelings and propel us through this life just going through the motions, failing to notice the important things that we have been missing.

Like the rude guest at a cocktail party, who talks with us while all the time being distracted while watching for someone more interesting to move on to meet, we often look right over the present moment right in front of us!

We squander our attention on trivia losing out on the special people and unique opportunities right in front of us.

This Advent, a time of preparation is a call to seize the day and to cherish every single part of it. Each minute, situation and person is God’s personal gift to you. It’s a call to value what really matters.

May God grant that we learn to cherish the gift of life by giving our whole selves wisely and graciously to each moment. If we take care of our moments…God will take care of us.