Real Wealth Society

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thinking about renewal By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after December 23rd, 2007

I’ve been thinking about renewal. Actually I’ve been thinking about Christmas, advent, cards/newsletters, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” our service men and women, and happiness. The Christmas holiday is something that actually invigorates me. Sure there is so much going on in a very compacted period that the “honest” appraisal/effect of the season should be one of exhaustion, not of renewal. I also experience the “you gotta’s!” Gotta do this, gotta attend that, gotta touch base with …; but after I collapse in my bed at night from doing “whatever” and before I fall asleep, I TH*NK about how blessed I am and how the Christmas season puts things in perspective for me in such a positive way.

You see despite the fact that Christmas falls at the end of the calendar year; it is really a time of beginnings and renewals. It celebrates the advent, or beginning of the Christian church year. For those of us of the Christian faith, it marks the prophesy of the Old Testament fulfilled. It celebrates the birth of the promised one. It is a time of tidings of great joy, peace on Earth, and goodwill to man. Cynics may decry the commercialism, the rat races, and the negative perceptions with a loud BAH HUMBUG; but such ill-conceived perceptions rob them of the cleansing benefits of the true “reason for the season.”

Each day I’ve been receiving cards and newsletters from family, friends, and acquaintances – many of whom I only hear from at Christmas. I don’t hold this absence of communications against them. How can I? I am just as guilty of not keeping in touch as they are! The Christmas exchanges fill in many of the blanks from the past 12 months. This is a big part of the renewal process for me. If the Christmas season forces the contact, fine, I’m so grateful to be remembered in the yuletide sharing of what’s been going on in their lives. Hopefully they feel the same about my updates.

The Christmas Sunday School program at my little home church of St Johns usually kindles the holiday spirit in me. Seeing the little folks singing and reciting their Christmas pieces brings back so many wonderful memories. The sanctuary decorated with poinsettias and a large tree covered with symbolic Christmons is always so festive. Our special Christmas Eve candlelight service with carols and communion helps to set the mood for me because, in keeping with my family tradition, I decorate my tree when I return home. Now… the household consists of puppy and me, but we still have a tree just for us. This year I spent the Saturday before Christmas with my cousins’ families in Naperville and spent Christmas Day with my sole living aunt and uncle at the home of my cousin Donna and her husband Robert. At both gatherings we will pass around the photo albums and lovingly discuss those departed.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without re-re-re-enjoying the viewing of the Frank Capra classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ve already watched it twice this season. Although I’ve seen it dozens of times, this year it took on special meaning as I thought about the looming Real Estate crisis with all the pending foreclosures. While there are scores of contemporary villains I could easily cast as the evil banker, Henry F. Potter, only one contemporary person (a candidate for US President in 2008) comes to mind for the role of the hopeful George Bailey. We need a George Bailey to work a Christmas miracle for us!

As I shared the holiday gatherings with family and friends, I thought about those absent this year. I know of several local families with loved ones serving around the globe in the military. All across this nation there are literally hundreds of thousands of households with voids and vacancies around their trees and holiday table feasts. Take a moment to reflect on them in your gatherings. Pacem in Terris.

It is often said that one never fully appreciates what they have… until it’s gone. That maybe true, but during Christmas 2007 please make the effort to tell those you love how you truly feel about them - you won’t be sorry. Remember that real happiness comes from wanting (and appreciating) what you already have! I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2007 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • There is an advanced approach to all global problems using a new understanding of capital. It is my project called TRANSFINANCIAL ECONOMICS.

    Robert Searle

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:15 AM  

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