A Time to Speak – Take the time to slow down

Sarah Wunderlin

One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. I never watched the movie as a child, but discovered it a few years ago while paging through all the Christmas movies available on Netflix. Now each year, I try to set aside one evening in the week leading up to Christmas to order take-out food, put on my pajamas and watch this movie to unwind and reset before the holiday.

It is hard to pick out just one song in the film that stands out as my favorite, but there is one line that sticks with me every time I watch it:

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

In our fast-paced world, there never seems to be enough time. We are constantly facing an ever-growing to-do list with seemingly less time to get items accomplished. Even when we finally make it to the end of the list, something new inevitably arises that needs our attention now. 

In this season of Advent, what if we took the time to slow down for a few minutes and reflect on all the wonderful things that God has given us over the past year? 

I’m not suggesting everyone has to clear their schedules one night like I do to watch a movie and get lost in a world of Technicolor. I am proposing a conscious effort to take the time to count our blessings for just 15 minutes at the end of the day. In doing so, maybe we could also think about how we can strive to share with others the many gifts God has given us.

I believe it is better to give than to receive and with so many gifts that have been given to me, this Christmas I want to take some time to think about how I can share them with others. Whether as a new volunteer at a worthy organization, supporting a cause that I feel connected to or just taking time to listen to a friend that might be struggling during this time of year, I know there are many ways I can share my blessings with those around me.

One gift that can have a far-reaching impact across our archdiocese is a gift to the Catholic Services Appeal.

The appeal supports more than 100 ministries and services, such as the Family Ministries Office that provides care and outreach to individuals at all stages and phases of life; the many forms of humanitarian work provided through Catholic Charities; and formation of our future priests through the Seminarian Education Fund. A gift to the Catholic Services Appeal is a wonderful way to share our blessings and give back to our community.

So in the next few weeks when I am unable to sleep, worrying about everything that is going on and the ever-growing list of things needing to be done, I will take a few minutes to slow down and count the many blessings that God has provided me. And, I will fall asleep counting my blessings!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Sarah Wunderlin is the director of annual giving for the Archdiocese of Louisville Office of Mission Advancement.

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