New year.

The new year begins, and the resolutions begin. I have never thought  much of this tradition – what  basically amounts to tallying  up one’s regrets and transforming  them into resolve that crumbles before January ends.

I have always felt the beginning of a new year as  I feel about  all beginnings – that they are the seeds of hope. And so I don’t resolve, I just renew my hopes, for myself, for everyone…

To love more, judge less.
To enjoy more, complain less.
To savor more, hurry less.
To embrace more, fear less.
To give more, consume less.
To listen more, speak less.

To hope more, and spread that hope as far as possible.

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Little Drummer Boy.

I played my drum for Him…

I played my best for Him…

Then He smiled at me…

Me and my drum.

My favorite Christmas carol growing up was “The Little Drummer Boy.”  It has always made me a little emotional, a little teary, the idea of a poor little boy playing his heart out on his drum – for the infant Jesus, because he didn’t have anything else to bring him.  The irony being that although this poor drummer boy had nothing tangible to give, he gave something infinitely more treasured and beautiful than all the gifts that the Magi brought.

As I’ve gotten older, I embrace that song even more, and it makes me more emotional now than it did as a child.  As I watch everyone rush around every season (and for many years I joined this frenzy) consuming as much as they can – food, drink, and goods – nothing seems farther from this idea of humbly giving the very best of yourself – your heart, your soul, your compassion, your love, your talent, your time.  Somehow along the way we mixed up this idea of giving, with the idea of getting, of consuming, of materialism.

Not to say that we all need to just toss our purchases into the bonfire and never buy a single Christmas gift for anyone ever again, but neither should we reduce our observance of a holiday with such beautiful meaning, down to shopping lists and eggnog martinis (although I do love a good eggnog martini), without really giving what matters – the best of our selves.  Be kinder. Be more joyful.  Be more charitable. Give the best you have to give – I guarantee that does not come in a box.  Christmas is a time of humbling ourselves before something bigger than us, bigger than gifts under the tree…

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

One of my favorite renditions of the “Little Drummer Boy”…