It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or….it should be. Yet, for many of us, the holiday season is wrought with stress and distress, choking the joy out of it. Stress comes for many reasons – high expectations, busyness, high expenses, spending time with everyone, and…spending time with no one. I do think that most of us have lost sight of the very reason for our joyous season. We tend to fill it with material things, activities and people, instead of focusing on WHY we celebrate. Many people reading this article have varying religious convictions – all celebrating SOMETHING around this time – but we do have one thing in common: We celebrate something bigger and outside of ourselves. When we lose sight of that reason, stress builds and we lose our joy.
So in this holiday season, I am challenging you to keep your focus on your reason for celebrating. Stay true to your values and set boundaries for yourself. If you know and understand your limits for time spent with family or money spent on gifts, stick to them. Write them down, look at them throughout the month and remind yourself of the WHY you celebrate – not the HOW. When you give in to the expectations of people, you give away your power, and usually your joy. No one can make you do anything or feel anything. Material things, activities and people will always disappoint you when you seek satisfaction in them.
Think back on your childhood. What good memories do you have surrounding this season? Do you remember the gifts you got or the perfectly set dinner table, the perfect presentation of food, the perfectly decorated tree and house? Perfection is a lie – don’t fall for it — or like me, do you remember the TIME spent with people you love, laughing and being lighthearted?
Now that my kids are grown and coming home for the holidays, I choose to focus on the time we have together. Yes, I want my house and tree decorated nicely, but they won’t remember that. They will remember that I rolled up the living room carpet so we could swing dance on the hardwood floors! They will remember the warmth and the love I have for them. Will they say stuff that I could be hurt and disappointed by? I’m sure – but, I will choose to see them as individuals – people searching to find who they are – people, who like me, are searching to be loved and accepted JUST WHERE WE ARE! I am choosing to keep my eye on the reason I celebrate. I am Christian, so I want to keep Christ in Christmas. Jesus is the reason for my joyous season, and He promises peace beyond all understanding in all circumstances.
Will you accept my challenge to control your stress by focusing on YOUR reason for this season?
BLESSINGS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!