Writing by Faith


Dan Whitmarsh

Dan Whitmarsh

A Christmas well-spent

Christmas is here again, with its hustling and bustling and hurry and bother. It’s the annual marathon of driving and running and shuffling our way from mall to office party to the in-laws. Every year, we say, “I wish we would just slow down and enjoy the season,” after which we jump into the car, hoping to make it to a store in time for the annual sock sale.

Are you the sort who wakes up in January and says, “I can’t believe it’s over already; I wish I’d done more to make it meaningful”? Here’s a helpful list for a richer, fuller, well-spent Christmas.

If you stayed home to play games with your family, it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you skipped the mall and headed into the woods for a hike, enjoying the beauty of nature in winter, it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you had friends over for appetizers and a viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” it was a Christmas well-spent (bonus points if you also watched “A Christmas Story”).

If you gave a gift that you made with your own hands –– a scarf, a bird feeder, a crock of soup –– then it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you listened to Handel’s Messiah in its entirety, you spent your time wisely (extra bonus points if you saw a live performance).

If you got together with friends to dress up and go caroling, it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you attended the Christmas tree lighting at the Key Center Corral, or met with Santa as he made his rounds of the KP, it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you weren’t offended when somebody wished you “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukah,” or however else they greeted you, you did well.

If you made homemade eggnog to share with friends, it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you gave a card or a gift to your letter carrier, your newspaper deliverer, your child’s teacher, a political leader or your grandmother, you are to be commended.

If you made somebody’s life brighter, if you fed somebody who was hungry, if you befriended someone who was lonely, if you dropped coins in the red kettle or made a donation to a worthy cause, then you chose wisely.

If you bought your presents from local artists or a retail shop here on the KP, then it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you attended a Christmas Eve service or gathered to worship with your faith community, it was a Christmas well-spent.

If you made a child happy, it was a Christmas very well-spent.

If you ever stopped, took a deep breath and recognized the glory of music, of laughter, of friendship, of food, of faith, of creation, of aging parents and energetic children, it was a moment well-spent.

On behalf of the Key Peninsula Ministerial Association, I wish you a Merry Christmas. May peace mark your pathway, light shine into your darkness, and may you spend your time wisely and well.

Dan Whitmarsh is pastor at Lakebay Community Church. You can contact him at dan@lakebaycovenant.net