How can the holidays be so busy but feel so lonely?

So we’ve been a bit busy this past month. We released our newest product TimeTap and have seen a lot of success, but it has unfortunately come at the cost of blog writing.

It’s December now and while there is still miles to go before we get all of the checkAppointments features over to TimeTap, we are at least back in blog writing mode for the time being.

I know we are a web scheduler and we’re supposed to talk about business and technology and appointment management and all of that good stuff. Maybe something on priority management or on time management activities would feel more appropriate for this business blog.

But this is the first post in a long time and today, I don’t want to write about how you can better manage to do lists or how to get more appointments on your calendar. Today I want to talk about time in the more abstract, uncalculated sense and there seems to be no better time to do that than the holidays.

The holidays are a confusing time. When we get to the holiday season, we are often reminded of it being a time to spend with family and friends. Many of us who have happy memories of childhood will reminisce about how great it was growing up. Some of us will travel home this month and partake in traditions that have weaved their way so deeply into our hearts that they feel like part of our identity.

For these folks, the advertisements and ABC Family movie specials throughout the month speak directly to your upbeat spirit and attitude. Yet, it’s at this time of year that I am reminded of the folks who have had so much hope torn away from them that the advertised “magic of the season” feels like a giant front.

Personally, I do not fall into either of these camps. While I enjoy the change in tempo that the holiday season brings, I do not think it is “the most wonderful time of the year”.

Like all things, an individual’s spirit and attitude toward this time of year exists on a spectrum between “love it & wish it would never end” and “wish I could just sleep through it all”. And, like me, most people sit somewhere in the middle. I’d be willing to bet, however, that all of wish we could move a little bit more toward the “love it” side of the spectrum.

It’s a safe bet to make. I mean, who doesn’t want to approach the day with a bit more light? Not in the sense that we forget about the many troubling things that are happening in the world around us, but in the sense that we don’t think the only response when hopes are dashed is to trumpet up despair. We can move forward, keeping our eyes on the prize of a more just and equal world, without sparing the chance to shine our greatest light today.

But how? How do we keep our lights shining when we turn on the news and more things have happened that seem unconscionable to our morals and damning to our spirit as a nation and as a people? How do we let our lights shine without making it seem like we are forgetting about all the ways the events in the world have been trying to stomp them out?

It almost hurts to have a Pollyanna attitude at a time like this. It hurts because it feels naive and negligent of lives hurt and lost. But I believe that it is exactly because hope is so difficult to hang on to that it is what we must protect the most dearly. I believe this more than I believe anything else. If I give someone the power to take away my hope, then I’ve given them all the power in the world.

It seems an odd juxtaposition that as the holiday season winds up we are faced with more headline news than ever about how divided our country still is, how much progress we have left to make. It is a juxtaposition that makes it easy for us to move to the “wish I could sleep through it all” side of the spectrum.

So what can we do to keep our lights shining? It all comes back to the real meaning of the holiday season which the advertising and commercialization may have pushed to the back corner of our mind.

Let’s make this holiday a time for caring for one another. Let’s make it about being in community with one another, checking in on one another, noticing injustices as they happen on all sides of the aisle.

Let’s make it about unity. I think that’s the gift that everyone in this nation really needs. Not to feel judged or alone or isolated. To feel like they are accepted for being who they are.

Let’s make it about slowing down instead of speeding through everything. Let’s take time to notice each other and ourselves and how we impact one another and what impact we actually want to have and how we can get to that higher standard.

This time, let’s make the holiday season intentionally about community building and tenderness for one another. Let your light shine in that spirit and keep your eyes on the prize of equal justice for everyone.

This time, let’s all move a little bit up on the spectrum and help others move up as well.