Newsletter – December, 1999

**Companion Resources Newsletter**

edited by Paul D. Leichty

Volume 1, No. 12 December 1999

Christmas blessings from Companion Resources!

“‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free…” For some years, especially during the season leading up to Christmas, I have thought about what it means to live simply in this complex world. I still have more questions than answers, and I don’t live out all of the answers I do have. Perhaps, though, a few reflections might be of mutual encouragement as we seek to be companions rather than consumers during this season.

It is hard to resist the consumer mentality of “the Christmas season” fostered by the business world. (I use quotes because “the Christmas season” for the business world is really the Advent season for Christians. The Christmas season is December 25 to January 6th.) I’ve found it true again this year even though I have less to spend and more reasons to do creative and meaningful gifts. Perhaps you have your own variations to the following dilemmas:

1. In November, I thought I would put more effort into marketing my computer business as an Independent Technology Consultant for handtech.com during “the Christmas season.” However, there were special family considerations and other projects to which I was already committed. Do I put in more hours or find at least a little time to catch a breath?

2. The annual Christmas letter is a yearly ritual of mine. It is one way to keep in touch with family and friends at least yearly. It symbolizes a personal touch, an alternative to a commercial card (even though I like getting a variety of Christmas cards). This year, “The Leichty Letter” went more smoothly than ever. It feels like I have it down to a science. I even saved money by creating an e-mail and web version as an alternative to sending paper. For several years, I’ve sent letters without envelopes. Is all of this simpler than a card? More personal? More caring? What about all of those personalized messages I used to write, but have largely given up in recent years?

3. Christmas decorations around the house have always been a mixed blessing. A number of years ago, our family decided that the Christmas tree ritual was too costly, time-consuming, and stressful. We were developing more tensions than good feelings with each other getting the Christmas tree. So we bought an artificial one. Simpler? Perhaps. It looks pretty and realistic, but it’s not “real.” This year, it seemed harder than usual to get even the artificial tree up with lights and icicles on it. Most of the decorations are staying in their boxes this year. Have we lost our “Christmas spirit” in the midst of our exhausting schedules? Or are we making life simpler?

4. And then there is the annual question about gifts. Yes, we want to let family and friends know of our love and care. I also believe that to give to persons in need is really more like giving a birthday present to Jesus. Yet, it takes effort on both accounts to buy wisely and give wisely. Jesus is present in both the poor of the world and in those who touch our lives most closely. Is it a cop-out to say, “I’m giving my gift in your name to this charitable organization this year?” How do we keep Christmas simpler and more attuned to its real meaning?

As you can tell, I have more questions than answers on simplicity in the Christmas season. I do know that in the new year, I want to renew my commitment that my work and my leisure contribute toward building relationships with those that most need my love and companionship. I know that means spending time by myself, with God, and with others. Only a balanced life will ultimately contribute toward building community.

This issue marks the end of the first year of the Companion Resources Newsletter. We have many more topics of interest to explore in the year to come. I want to wish you a Happy New Year and the hope for much more community building in the year 2000! Blessings to all!

Paul D. Leichty

Fort Wayne, Indiana

PDLeichty@cresources.org

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