What if This Were Your Last Christmas?

Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.  – Psalm 90:12 (Contemporary English Version)

I’m not trying to be morose, but instead eager to challenge all of us to be more intentional about making the moments in our life count.

“Forever is composed of nows.” ― Emily Dickinson

If this were your last Christmas, who would you want to be sure to spend time with?

If it’s not too late, when you are planning your holiday agenda think about the people that you need to connect with. Surely there’s a name or two on your heart right now. Someone who needs some time with you.

Maybe all it takes is a phone call (remember those?).  A good old fashioned note or card can make up for so much distance. Why not share your real self with someone who’s drifted away?

What about those holiday obligations that really hold no meaning for you? Why waste time with social engagements filled with strangers? Who is it that means the most to you? That’s the list you ought to be making and checking twice.

Who is it that needs a little more time from you this year?  There will always be a “Last Christmas” person in your life who needs a little more of your time, effort and love. It will be worth it. You already know that people last longer than any present under the tree.

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay  an invincible summer.”  ― Albert Camus

If this were your last Christmas, what would you want to be sure to talk to others about?

There’s always something on the “do not bring up” list when families and close friends get together infrequently. That’s not really what I mean by this question. When we spend time with people that count the most to us we often don’t talk about things that really matter. This isn’t necessarily deliberate. We are swept up in social norms that can keep us at a distance. There are unwritten rules about saying too much that might frighten someone else off or make us appear too vulnerable.

Everyone needs to hear how much they mean to you and how much they are loved. None of us ever hear this enough. That’s the only gift that ever matters in the end.

If this were your last Christmas, what kinds of unwritten rules would really matter to you? Which rules are you and I following that ultimately keep us from building  deep bonds with others? Telling someone the truth about how much they mean makes that truth become ever more real.

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”  ― Walt Whitman

What do you need to say to someone this year? It can be as simple as saying “you’re life matters to me.”

If this were your last Christmas, what would you leave behind (stop wasting time with)?

“Are not half our lives spent in reproaches for foregone actions, of the true nature and consequences of which we were wholly ignorant at the time?”  ― Herman Melville

What are the actions, words and habits that keep getting in the way of what you really need to accomplish? We spend too much time in backwashes of regret simply because we don’t or won’t make adjustments to the simple practice of how we live each day.

You’re not going to have time to spend with others until you stop spending time on other things. You won’t talk about things that matter unless you think about them ahead of time. Leave behind what never matters so that you can be certain to grab the moment before you.

The largest obstacle to making moments count in our lives are the fears we imagine. Fears about what others might think. The overwhelming need to keep safe our own fragile ego. And another moment has slipped past, because we couldn’t leave behind our protective armor.

Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise. -Psalm 90:12 (Good News Translation)

What if this was your last Christmas?

Don’t let this Christmas get wadded up and pitched out with the used up wrapping paper. Nothing dramatic, just make it a point to be intentional with your time and attentions.

Who do you need to make contact with? What do you need to communicate to others? What bonds needs to be strengthened? What needs to be accomplished today before it slips away forever?

“The older one gets, the more one feels that the present moment must be enjoyed, comparable to a state of grace.”  ― Marie Curie