Take a Healthy Pause from the Pandemic

I recently returned from spending a few days in the woods of northern Pennsylvania for the opening weekend of firearms season for whitetail deer. This annual excursion is always a great opportunity for me to clear my head and spend time reflecting and making plans for the future. This year’s trip was especially needed considering all that 2020 has dealt.

It is amazing how much your perspective on things can change when you are sitting on the side of a mountain in God’s creation with limited cell phone service and nothing to entertain you but your thoughts. Everyone seems to be looking for a distraction from current events and nothing could do a better job at distracting us from that than Christmas. During my drive to the mountains, I was reflecting on how many homes and businesses were already glowing with bright lights and decorations, much more than I ever recall seeing in years past. It seems like most people are affected positively by the season. Many become a little more tolerant of each other and even a little sentimental when it comes to family and memories built during this time.

Work gets hectic for many of our members in the fall, especially with processing wild game, the holiday rush, and the increase in business brought on by COVID-19. Business can seem way too busy at times to be able to enjoy it. Add into those normal family obligations such as gift shopping and holiday preparations and there is no time left to truly enjoy the Christmas season and what it represents to each of us. I’m not against all of the things that make up the holiday season, but I am against becoming so busy that we miss the enjoyment of it, like spending time with our loved ones. Don’t forget to take time this holiday season to experience it with those most important in your life.

While many are not seeing some of their family this year for fear of spreading COVID, it is especially important to take time to notice and enjoy the simple things of the holiday season. Take time to smell, taste, see, and experience the things you enjoy. Breathe in the smell of a fresh-cut tree, the fire burning in your fireplace, candles on the mantle, freshly baked treats, or the smell of Christmas past at grandma’s house. Taste your favorite things of Christmas like cookies or pies made with family, candy canes or peppermint sticks, grandma’s famous filling, or your favorite holiday beverage. See the beauty of lightly falling snow, the finished work of your own uniquely decorated tree, and the twinkle of excitement in a child’s eye on Christmas ve. Experience the joy in giving instead of the stress of buying. Experience the thankfulness for family and the love shared being together. It is time to hit pause on 2020 and the pandemic and just enjoy the loved ones God has blessed you with.

Finally, remember the reason for the season: the gift of God’s son we received so long ago. Have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.