What are you grateful for this holiday season?

December 20, 2019

With the holiday season starting earlier and earlier each year, it’s a challenge to keep focus on the meaning of the season. I started feeling pressure as the Halloween candy was hitting the shelves in mid-September. Between Halloween, Día de Los Muertos, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s, it easy to feel overwhelmed and lost.

The holiday season doubtlessly means different things for different people, families and communities. However, I think there are a few common themes like time together with family and friends, good food, cheer, and celebration.  (Note: I said nothing about relaxation, sleep or exercise as those are often forgotten to make room for the fun.)

It is my perspective that a primary reason why these and other celebrations are integral to all human cultures is to allow us to “spend time in gratitude.”

Gratitude is a state of thankfulness for whomever or whatever we have in our lives.  The celebrations are a time to express that gratitude to those we love and care about the most.   Seems really straight forward, unless you get “caught” in the doing/activity trap or you start comparing your life to others.

There was a poem popular in the early 70’s, Desiderata, which begins, ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste,’ which further reminds us to not compare ourselves to others, for always there will be greater or lesser persons. This advice holds for relationships and possessions.  I know many who have a great number of both and are nonetheless dissatisfied, while others with seemingly much less are delighted by the family, friends or possessions they have in their lives.

Dr. Gude's, Texas MedClinic Urgent Care, personal gratitude journal.
Dr. Gude’s personal gratitude journal.

An amazing quality of gratitude is that, like love, the more you practice it, the more you see what you have to be grateful for!

Years ago, I created a gratitude journal. I wrote in it every day for several weeks. Chocolate chip cookies, butter and corn tortillas (with butter of course) ended up on the list multiple times.  I had long known I was blessed, but it was a further revelation to examine the many ways this is true.  Blessings are not rewards for good behavior, in fact they are not “earned” at all, merely bestowed or present in our lives.

During your celebrations this holiday season, find moments great and small to take note, experience and express gratitude. It will be one of the best gifts you can give to both the recipient and to yourself.

On behalf of the staff and physicians of Texas MedClinic Urgent Care, may your holiday season be safe, healthy and peaceful and may 2020 bring continued blessings and opportunities for gratefulness.

David Gude, MD, Chief Operating Officer, Texas MedClinic Urgent Care

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