Holidays are a Time of Giving
It’s easy to find oneself, this time of year, in the whirlwind of holiday luncheons, parties, and events—all fun and meaningful, with people you appreciate and enjoy. Yet, there can be a sense of obligation, a sense of aloneness in the midst of a crowd, a voice that whispers to you to slow down and consider the nature of the season. The chilly winds that ushered the season’s first cold snap seem perfectly timed for this reflection.
Much is written in poetry, stories, and song about the dramatic changes of the seasons. Our natural light diminishes, so we celebrate with festive candles, strings of light decorations, luminarias, friends and family story telling. It’s a time of remembering times past and making new memories. Our hectic pace that started last summer is a memory now, even if we are still working hard on new projects.
This is a time of giving. What we are really doing is giving of ourselves, monetarily through charity—special gifts for those in need, such as our generous Adopt-a-Family initiative, the children’s book drive and others, and small treats for our co-workers. We give that valued commodity of our time. We work during commencement because it’s another special gift to our community. We take the time off during the holidays to give our time to family and friends. This giving, while seemingly benefitting others at its simplest level, satisfies our own needs. We have a need to be in community and feel a part of a whole. We know that it is healthy and nurturing to take care of ourselves so that we may be physically and mentally ready to give to others.
This month will be a time of renewal for us as we enjoy the traditions and festivities of this time of year. Next month brings preparation for the coming year—for those of us who work in universities, this means the spring semester. Our students will have gone home to rest after their finals and will reconnect with their own loved ones and friends. They, too, will give of their time. And we’ll be ready for their return.
I hope you take time during this transition to celebrate the season in ways that renew your spirit. The New Year brings great promise.