Spontaneity vs. scheduling

933343_i_love_you.jpgI’ve always loved holidays and the opportunity to celebrate something special, to do something a little different from the ordinary. I look forward to them eagerly.

But over the last few years I’ve increasingly heard sentiments along the lines that, “I’d rather have spontaneous everyday expressions than a scheduled one dictated by greeting card companies with all the pressure and expectations.” I’ve probably heard it most in connection with Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, but there seems to be a growing anti-holiday mentality in general.

Well, we do have to be careful about unrealistic expectations and pressures. Traditions can be wonderful elements in one’s life, but if they add pressure and we feel enslaved to them (“It just wouldn’t be Christmas without….”), then they’ve gone too far. If our schedules are over-flowing and we feel we have to add 50 things to it to celebrate a holiday, then we need to reevaluate. A commemoration of a holiday can be very simple: most years our Valentine’s Days have just involved a card by everyone’s plate at dinner and heart-shaped cupcakes for dessert, though some times we’ve done more.

And it is true stores commercialize just about every holiday. But commercialization in itself isn’t a reason not to celebrate.

I look at it this way: we’re supposed to be thankful every day, but Thanksgiving is a special opportunity to take the time to sit down and take stock of all that we have to be thankful for and to actually spend time giving thanks to the One who has blessed us. It doesn’t mean any less because we gave thanks according to a date on the calendar rather than spontaneously.

In the same way, I love my family every day and I hope I show it at least often enough that they don’t doubt it. But lives get busy and distractions multiply, so it’s nice to have an occasional time to focus on the other people in our lives and let them know how much we love them. It doesn’t mean any less because it’s a “scheduled” time to show love. If my husband gives me a nice card on Valentine’s Day, as he usually does, I’m not going to toss it aside and think, “He just did that because he felt he was ‘supposed’ to.” I am going to enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is: an expression of his love. It’s the same with Mother’s Day: we should honor our parents every day, but there is nothing wrong with a special day set aside to sit down, take stock, remember how much we love them and appreciate them, and let them know that.

Holidays and celebrations can even be a reminder or add a bit of revival to the appreciation we should feel every day. I honestly don’t think about patriotism very much on an everyday basis, but patriotic holidays remind me that I am extremely glad to live in my country and I am extremely thankful for those who make it possible.

One quote in my files attributed to Samuel Johnson says, “The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected.”

“What may be done on any day” may be neglected because we don’t often think about it in the course of busy everyday responsibilities.

I’m not saying I think everyone should keep holidays. “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it” (Romans 14:6a).

I’m just saying that a scheduled time for honoring someone or showing appreciation doesn’t negate the everyday expressions and doesn’t mean any less. It’s nice to have both the spontaneous and the scheduled.

(Photo courtesy of the stock.xchng)

4 thoughts on “Spontaneity vs. scheduling

  1. Barbara,
    I am commenting on your comment over at my place. You said you wondered what my parents thought. My Dad said that if I had come by where he worked he would have gone with us. My mother cried. They were not upset about who I married as they knew Jim well. He’d been hanging out at my house for 3 years. All the week before, with my dress hanging on the outside of the closet door and my bag packed I talked to them about my marriage. I asked Daddy if I could live at home after I married until I finished school. He always said he’d never walk his daughters down the aisle and give them away. I gave lots of hints. They just didn’t see it. As I said, it turned out to be the best decision of my life and one they approved of. Jim meant a lot to both of them through the years. They thought of him as their son.

  2. I agree. I love to celebrate the holidays I think because I am a decorator and I think it is fun, but also because it adds a little spice to our lives. I also find that when I put the holiday stuff away and I bring out my old stuff, it makes me appreciate my house. We do need to be careful not to become enslaved to the holidays or only show the sentiment on that day and not year round. It is kind of like how we do birthdays, we treat our friends, kids, husbands with love year round, but on their birthday it is their day and they get to feel special and we show them even more how much we love them!

    Hugs, Sharon

  3. I am playing catch up. I guess you’ll get that idea when you recieve all these comments.
    I wanted to say, Bravo!
    Celebrating holidays does not have to be commercial. I agree with you about everything you said. When my children were growing up, I made heartshaped cinnamon biscuits with strawberries on Valentine’s morning, and gave them their card and candy. This week my daughter made heart shaped muffins for breakfast. I made a comment about wondering if she remembered what I had done. She said, I was a hard act to follow. I’ve always thought that traditions were an important part of a family. Birthdays I always served the honoree’s favorite food and made them their favorite cake. I know that my son’carries on this tradition with the dinner choice.
    J told someone in Sunday School once that I told him I loved him every morning before he left for work. She said she thought it was a habit and didn’t mean as much as a spontaneous expression. I want the last words he hears from me to be an expression of my love for him in case something happens before we’re together again. And I mean it every time I say it.
    I love finding ways to express my feelings all year but holidays are a chance to build those traditions. I kind of feel sorry for the people who feel differently.

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