‘Tis the gift to be simple

By J. C. Coon

The harvest has not yet been celebrated, and the media is bombarding us with Christmas Holiday reminders.

I have been trying hard over the past years to eat the food that is in season. To enjoy each season as it comes, and to be in that season completely. Enjoy the next season that comes to be, and be a part of that season completely.

It is not an easy task.

We need to make a conscious effort to take back our lives. There is a song floating in my head. It is a Shaker tune, Simple Gifts. The words go like this (thanks, Wikepedia)

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ‘round right

The key word I am looking for here is Simple. Dictionary.reference.com says as an adjective that means: 1) easy to understand, deal with, use; 2) not elaborate or artificial; plain.

I like both of these definitions. As the Christmas Holiday approaches and the media is encouraging you to buy, buy, buy and family members are making lists longer than your arm of items they must have, I say let’s pause and reflect on “musts.”

How many ‘musts’ are sitting in the back on closets, collecting dust? How many ‘musts’ have broken parts and are awaiting a repair that will never come? How many ‘musts’ have lost their luster?

As our family has enlarged and our daily contact with one another has been reduced to Facebook postings, we often know less and less about each other’s likes and preferences. Our family recently went to drawing names so that we each had only one person who we gave a gift to when the family gathered for Christmas. My son-in-law recently suggested the gifts be hand made. That is a great idea if you are crafty and talented and I strongly encourage following along those lines.

Lets remember to Keep It Simple. Nearby we have great independent merchants and local craft shows. Let’s support them. I think what the tune also meant was to give a simple gift; a gift with thought, a humble gift, a gift from the heart.

Time is a gift also. Rethink the word gift. Give the gift of time. Time to be together, time to have a meal together, time to go to an event together. Simple.

I do not pretend to have the answer as to what ‘simple’ looks like to you and your family, but I encourage you to find a ‘simple’ that works for you.