Ladies and gentlemen, we have made it to the 12th Step of Christmas!
Those total lords have been jumping all around, the maids have stopped milking and are dancing with the other ladies. All the beautiful birds are flying around like crazy… but we have been waiting for the bass drop… BOOM! In comes the 12 drummers, and I mean they come in like the Ohio State Marching Band, just killin it!
Still don’t know why your true love brought so many birds, but hey it’s a party.
So to follow the classice sense of the song, we are going to rehash the other 12 Steps of Christmas for our final thought.
1. Admitting that I am powerless over the Holidays and they can make my life unmanageable.
2. Came to believe a Power Greater than myself could restore my holiday cheer
3. Made a decision to turn your Holiday over to the care of your Higher Power.
4. Made a Searching and Fearless Christmas List.
5. Admit to ourselves and another human when we are being a Grinch.
6. Become entirely ready to let go of the Ba Humbug.
7. Humbly asked our Higher Power to remove our shortcomings of holiday spirit.
8. Made a naughty list and checked myself twice; became willing to make amends and be nice.
9. Made amends when it wouldn’t ruin someone else’s Christmas.
10. Continued trying to stay off the naughty list, and when we are naughty we promptly get jolly.
11. Seek more of the Christmas spirit with through prayer or meditation.
Step 12: Carry the Christmas Spirit to others in all our affairs
This is what it is all about, really. This is why Christmas is such a beloved and cherished holiday for so many around the world. Without trying to take anything away from the vital role that religious faith plays in it for many, the spirit of Christmas is about sharing peace and love, goodwill toward others, compassion and connection.
We have talked about all of this through every step of the 12 Steps of Christmas. That is because love, peace, compassion, connection are all in the spirit of Christmas AND in the spirit of the 12 Steps of recovery. It isn’t hard to draw this relationship because at the core they give us inspiration and hope to build a better life, with fulfilled relationships and meaningful purpose.
In the 12th Step of most recovery fellowships they put a lot of emphasis on carrying the message of recovery. In Step 12 of Christmas let us say we can use the same idea; spread that love and connection to everyone. Of course there is the literal giving of gifts during Christmas when we try to bring joy to others with materials, but in the end these are just an offering or a gesture by which we communicate that love and connection to them.
It is just one way we give of ourselves to spread the love.
Practice the Christmas spirit in all things…
The truth is too often we forget that these attitudes and practices are not just meant to be done on the holidays. Too many people forget about acceptance, willingness and openness when the sleigh bells have come and gone. Many will make strong resolutions for the New Year, but few will remember to carry these principles on with them. Those who work the 12 Steps in recovery are actually very fortunate to have a program that provides a consistent practice of compassion and growth.
The 12 Steps remind us of the importance of self-awareness, reflection, humility and selfless action. They give us an outline for personal development while helping us try to mend damage done in active addiction.
So even if you are not in recovery from drugs or alcohol, you can learn a lot about yourself and about your impact on the people who matter most to you. Doing things like taking inventory, addressing your character defects and helping others is really just a path toward spreading the cheer, joy, love and connection that Christmas gives us.
This year, try to carry the spirit of Christmas in all things. Try to remind yourself to make every day count; to move away from the attitudes that hold you back and toward the wish list of a sober and fulfilled life.
Keep the Christmas party alive every day. Hey, you can even keep partrige. He’s not such a bad bird anyway.