It may come as a shock to you--but not everyone is elated to know once again -
How do you combat the "Seasonal Blues"? What can I do when I am filled with dread instead of joyful anticipation? For some--how do I survive another Christmas?
Christmas has become the most frantic-over-worked--under funded and over budgeted--time of the year. Others are faced with the reminder that all is not right with their world---the big happy family is a lost dream---or there is a hole left in the family circle---or Good Health has turned to Ill Health---or there is no way to meet all the expectations we perceive must be fulfilled--
IN SHORT--MAN MADE EXPECTATIONS
HAVE ROBBED US OF OUR JOY!
It is truly amazing to see new things added year after year to an already long list of --"Must's". Those days of working full time, trying to keep the family going, AND adding in Christmas have not escaped my memory. It was daunting and lead to sheer exhaustion and terminal frustration when trying to keep all the balls in the air. At my ripe old age--I have learned a few things and among those few things are this short list-
1. Decorations were not present at the first Christmas--and while nice- not necessary to enjoy the season. Don't try to keep up with The Joneses and savor those things which are meaningful to you and yours.
2. It is not necessary to buy the biggest and the best for everyone on your list. Some of my favorite gifts are the pictures with Santa and the grands or the plate with their hand prints made into a reindeer and lots of small things I would never buy myself. Make a budget and stick to it.
3. Family is wonderful--but you do not have to see the entire extended family over forty-eight hours. Spread your visits out over the two week period of the holidays.
4. Parties are wonderful--but it is no crime in declining invitations when it takes time away from the family or you are just over-whelmed. And NO--you do not have to reciprocate every invitation. A small hostess gift is thank you enough.
5. Christmas cards are wonderful---but costly and time consuming--you can send an email or text and say Merry Christmas.
6. Don't become prisoner to the expectations of others--do what you can--what is important to your immediate family--and respectfully decline the rest. There are 365 days in the year---plenty of opportunity to make the rounds.
These are a few short recommendations to help take the stress out of the holidays--and to make them joyful---remember the reason for the season. Don't get so caught up in the hubbub that you forget whose birthday we are celebrating. Take time everyday to look with thankfulness to the greatest gift ever given.
And for those who are alone---those who dread the day---those who feel as if they are on a deserted island of dismay in the midst of an ocean of glad tidings---it is one day out of the year---you will survive and the day after Christmas will come. Instead of dwelling on the sadness which overwhelms you--find someone to help---ring a bell---feed a hungry stranger---shop for an angel tree gift---look for others who are alone and share the day or a simple meal or a movie. Find joy in service--happiness in sharing--comfort in The Word made flesh.
And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.
II Corinthians 9:8