This is the time of year when people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Supermarkets give away turkeys, cranberry sauce is stacked by the hundreds at the end of aisles, and broccoli rabe makes a comeback.  The fall decorations which have been in stores since September are now stamped 50% off to make way for the red and green of Christmas.

Christmas songs take over the airways (way too early for my liking) and trees can be spotted atop cars on their way to someone’s living room.  Shopping malls are mobbed, online sales triple, and the world in general just seems to move in fast forward motion.

There’s pressure to buy the latest fad toy, mail out Christmas cards, wrap gifts, and attend party after party.  We buy things we don’t need “just in case” and spend money we really don’t have.  The city streets of Manhattan are so jam packed that if you stop on the sidewalk you’ll either get yelled at or trampled.  Thank God the Rockefeller Tree is so huge because you can’t get anywhere near it due to mobs of people.

Our kids write Christmas lists asking for gifts costing insane amounts of money, and we as parents calculate all sorts of ways to get them.  We watch the weather forecast waiting for that one warm day so we can hang our outdoor lights.  Hot chocolate with marshmallows and fattening butter cookies become a daily staple of our diet.

We stress, fret, spend, worry, shop, cook, drive, hang, clean, string, wrap, sneak, tie, cut, bake, curse, hug, cry, chop, pull, drop, laugh, yell, sleep, creep, love, miss, wish, pray, hope and I know I’ve forgotten so many more things that occur regularly during this busy time of year.

But one of the most important things that gets missed is something very simple.  Something that gets buried underneath everything else, something that is by far the most important, especially during this time of year…

We tend to forget what our purpose in life really is, and although I’m still trying to figure mine out, I know what it’s not.

My purpose isn’t to wear the fanciest clothes or have the most rings,

My purpose isn’t to own the biggest house or drive an expensive car,

My purpose can’t be found in any physical object.

What it may be…

My purpose may be to listen when someone tells me they’re in pain,

Or smile even though the world can be so harsh

My purpose may be to believe that all people have good in them, some just may need help finding it

My purpose may be to forgive even when it tears me up inside

No matter what our purpose is during this busy time of year, let’s all of us stop and take a moment to close our eyes and remember what it feels like to give…a smile, a hug, a simple thank you.

It goes a long way, more so than you think, but even if it doesn’t, the feeling you’ll experience deep down inside will last a lifetime.