I don’t know of a time of year that has more potential to be more oppressive, more directive, or more influential regarding thoughts and emotions than this time of year — this “holiday season.”
And that emotion of discontent will grip me if I don’t daily determine to keep a settled heart.
The ads in the internet sidebars, the magazines, music in the stores, signs, newspapers, mailers, radio commercials: all designed to influence and appeal to our mind, will, and emotions. You may not have needed a single thing this morning, for example, but by the time you glanced at Newspaper, Facebook, the daily mail or walked through the grocery store, or Costco or wherever else you might have been, you were probably struck with all kinds of images, sights, scents and sounds that stirred up your emotional impulses.
I know mine were stirred today as I drove along seeing that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” I briefly lingered over a song as I pressed buttons on the radio in the car, “I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me…” and I thought of times past when I heard that song and wept for those who wouldn’t be home that, or any other, Christmas. I saw trees being decorated, and strings of lights being hung on homes in a neighbourhood I was driving through. Instantly, I needed lights — in one moment I went from being content with no twinkle lights to needing them.
There’s an almost intoxicating aroma from the bags of heavily scented cinnamon pinecones that flank the doorway of our local store. I thought, Ooooo, I need those! Just up the street, carts were collecting all over the Costco parking lot — not a one by the entrance — but, Oooo, the scent of fresh pumpkin pies wafting out the doorway! A whole lot of shop, shop, shopping going on. Food, electronics, gifts and more gifts filling the unending streams of clanking carts — and though I was just there for some normal grocery shopping, I felt I needed to look around at all the stuff — compelled to see all the pretty lures. Do you do this, too? Do these feelings wash over you, too? It’s pretty important to keep a level head — to be content with such things as we have (or are able to purchase or not) and to be thankful regardless our circumstances. There is always something to be thankful for. Always.
Keep a settled heart, I remind myself.