Scott Kalechstein calls himself a “transformational troubadour” and his writings and songs do help me to transform some of my robotic ways of looking at things. Like his description of December as “a time when Mother Nature draws us inward and Mother Culture draws us shopping.”
Relax. This is not going to be one of those columns where you get spanked for making shopping your way of celebrating Christmas. The weather in December is so bleak and dreary here in Tennessee that I would not wish to interfere with anything you can crank up to make it more enjoyable. If you actually enjoy shopping, I envy you because I have never been able to shift into that gear.
When Scott talks about Mother Nature drawing us inward in December, he is speaking my language. It is a time of rest from growth and activity for the trees and, thank goodness, for the grass.
I am looking out of my big 4’ by 4’ double thermal-insulated bird-watching window on the world and all I can see are trees as naked as a picked chicken and a lot of brown grass. Just weeks ago the scene was all green and then crimson and gold with the colors of autumn. December takes all of that away.
It does not draw me to malls. It draws me inward like the trees and grass. It tells me it is good to rest in whatever growth I have attained and not be bursting with energy and activity. It tells me it is not necessary for me to be colorful and flashy all the time. It tells me there are times to even let the roots of my being just be. They have slurped their way through spring and summer and their tiny tongues need a rest.
While I do not desire to instill guilt in you over shopping if that is your thing, I would like to share some alternative ways to celebrate. One is to give the gift of freedom to those you love by simply giving them money to buy what they want. Save them a trip to the store to take back something they didn’t really want. Spare them from keeping it so when you come to visit and inspect, they can prove they kept it.
Don’t get mad at me for saying some people give you stuff just to make sure you use it and they get their little buzz from visiting you to see if you still have it and are using it as they intended. I have experienced those inspection trips. It is merely one of the less obnoxious forms of control behavior.
People have all kinds of motives for giving gifts. I was reminded of this when I compared the first Christmas I was county executive and the last one. Some give to curry favor so I had to borrow a friends pickup truck that first Christmas to carry my gifts home. I announced in October of ’93 that I would not be running again and that Christmas I was able to carry them to the car in one sack. I am not complaining. It has provided me too many belly laughs for me to complain.
I mention this for one reason alone: To encourage us to transform our reasons for our gifts. If they come from love and pure intentions, rather than from a desire to control or to curry favor, they will carry a much greater blessing and we will feel better about them, too.
With each gift I give or receive, I use the occasion to thank heaven for the Original Gift who said, “The kingdom of God is within.” No month drives me inward like December so while I am living more in my inner being, I look around in there and see if I can discover a little more of the kingdom, the treasure that does not rust and that thieves cannot break in and steal.
Click here to order your own copy of
Long John Cardinal--and the Best of Dalton Roberts
for only $4.95, with no charge for shipping and handling.
This material should be treated as copyrighted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the author. It should not be reproduced commercially without permission.