COLUMN: How about starting resolutions in December?

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Make one resolution - and keep it

By Mary Schmuck

 “Traditionally” a lot of people make resolutions at the beginning of each new year on the calendar.
This year, I started making some starting Dec. 1. Why now?  Maybe it has been in part to celebrate surviving eight months of a very intense schedule, going full speed all the time. Maybe it is just a streak of perversity, a type of push back to all the “you have to” messages coming at us from too many directions. Whatever ….
I know that experienced people say just make one resolution – and keep it. Nonetheless, my current list of resolutions includes the following:   
• Slowing down to enjoy the special spirit of Advent (a Christian and Catholic special season that started this year Nov. 28. It is marked with the call to ponder God’s action in human history, to be and do better in life and relationships.
• To reflect more on the meaning and power of darkness and light, of God’s action among us now.
• Dodging as many pre-Christmas parties as I can manage with kindness and courtesy. Is there something to be said about waiting to celebrate something really big and savoring it afterward for days and a few weeks? Versus starting to celebrate it more than two months beforehand?
• Using US postage stamps that celebrate the birth of Christ. I am a Catholic Christian and this is what we celebrate Dec. 25: God coming among us, born of Mary. It is also true that there are numerous other causes for celebration these weeks: that winter approaches officially Dec. 21 and it is special that this is the shortest day of the year sun-wise; that our Jewish sisters and brothers started celebrating Hanukah Dec. 2 and our Muslim brothers and sisters observed Eid recently; that the kindness and joyful spirit of Santa Claus with our precious young people merits our admiration and imitation – all year round, please; that there are so very many ways to make things beautiful. But for Christians, Dec. 25 is the anniversary of the birth of Jesus. (There is something to be said about being true to oneself and one’s own beliefs.)
• Seizing opportunities to help organizations that help persons in need rather than giving my own material gifts to others (I hope my family has come to better understand that stance). This effort increasingly swims against the tide in our society now; I used to think it was such an obvious thing to do.
Maybe if these resolutions are observed I will be in great shape to live life well in 2011. We will see ….   
Anyone else thinking about resolutions?
Sister Mary Schmuck, RSM works with Catholic Charities of Louisville Catholic Identity and External Relations. She can be reached at schmuckrsm@scnazarethky.org.