“. . . therefore I quote.” Robinson & Staeheli

I read, therefore I quote.

Today’s quotes come from Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season (I’m quoting the 1982 edition.)

“At first, some people have a hard time explaining exactly what’s wrong with Christmas because on the surface everything looks fine. But when they take a closer look, many of them realize that their celebrations lack depth and meaning. It’s not enough that Christmas be a family birthday party or the biggest social even of the year. They want to be moved by the celebration.

When they decorate, they want the result to be more than a beautiful house. They want to look around them and be filled with an air of expectancy . . .

. . . At Christmas, people want to reach down inside themselves and come up with feelings that are better, bigger, more joyful, more loving and more lasting than their everyday ones . . .

. . . But for most people, the real problem with Christmas isn’t that they’re spiritually bankrupt or that Christmas is devoid of meaning. It’s simply that they haven’t taken the time to define for themselves what’s most important about Christmas . . .

. . . While they have planned the details of their celebrations right down to the kind of cranberry sauce to serve at Christmas dinner, they haven’t stopped to ask themselves the all-important question: Why am I celebrating Christmas? They rely on habit, other people’s priorities, commercial pressures, or random events to determine the quality of their celebrations. But this is rarely successful. People need to make conscious choices, because Christmas offers them so many possibilities. It’s a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, the pleasures of family life, the importance of friendship, the delight of creating a beautiful home environment, the need for world peace, the desire to be charitable, and a host of other important values. When people don’t sort out which of these ideas are most important to them, the celebration can seem fractured and superficial . . .

. . . When people haven’t resolved these larger issues, they find it hard to make the dozens of small decisions that confront them every day of the holiday season . . .

. . . we’ve been encouraged by how quickly and easily people can decide what’s most important to them. All they need to do is to become more aware of the need to make choices, have some sense of what those choices are, and set aside a little time to reflect on them. With just a few minutes of prayer, meditation or conscious decision-making, most people gain a much better sense of how Christmas should be.”

The authors included an exercise at the end of this chapter to help readers take a look at all the values competing for our attention at Christmas. For a print friendly version of this exercise in PDF, CLICK HERE.

“To complete the exercise, read through the following ten value statements . . . cross off those that have no importance to you and add any equally important ones that we have not included. Then decide which of the remaining values is most important to you. Put a 1 beside that sentence. Then find the one that is next important to you and put a 2 beside it. Continue in this manner until each statement has been assigned a different number. Even a value that has a low priority to you can still be important. Remember: 1 is the highest and 10 is the lowest.

Christmas is a time to be a peacemaker, within my family and the world at large.

Christmas is a time to enjoy being with my immediate family.

Christmas is a time to create a beautiful home environment.

Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Christmas is a time to exchange gifts with my family and friends.

Christmas is a time for parties, entertaining and visits with friends.

Christmas is a time to help those who are less fortunate.

Christmas is a time to strengthen bonds with my relatives.

Christmas is a time to strengthen my church community.

Christmas is a time to take a few days off from work and have a good time. “

I’m going to get FirstHusband to work this exercise with me. I’m also going to ask FavoriteSon and PinkGirl to do it too. I think it will be an interesting and helpful process. Hope it helps you too!

“. . . therefore I quote” Thursday: If you have a quote to share from something you’ve read recently, feel free to comment and/or include a link to your own “quote” post.

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3 thoughts on ““. . . therefore I quote.” Robinson & Staeheli

  1. isn’t every day the time to do those things?

    i think one of the hardest things about christmas for christians is that we’re constantly trying harder and harder to FEEL all that we think we’re supposed to feel at that time. but feeling gets harder and harder to do. and it’s because we see christmas as a unique time for these feelings. why only give during christmas? why only reach out to others during that time? it’s like saying we only need to pray on sundays. and maybe that’s why christmas has been swallowed up by materialism, because materialism comes along as the trojan horse of generosity.

    Memarie Lane – “materialism comes along as the trojan horse of generosity.” Well SAID.

    I really wish I did do these things on a daily basis. If I’m honest with myself, I can see where I’ve failed in these areas. At the same time, if I’m fair to myself, I can see where I’ve made good decisions too. I know I want to look back at my life and see that I did them more than not.

    I guess I see this as an opportunity for a course adjustment and a renewed commitment to do better. With the swirl of activity, it can be so easy to lose my footing and be swept along by the things around me. If I face it full on before I get sucked in, I’m hoping I can purposely readjust my balance so I can stand true to these priorities – and against the “Christmas machine.” (by JSM)

  2. My mom’s group goes through the Unplug the Christmas Machine exercise every year. . . except this year. I’m so glad you brought it up.
    Cheez, you and I must have exactly the same books on our shelves. So fun to find a kindred spirit.

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