Christmas was always a hard season for me. But, when my children were born, I decided to “fake it until you make it.” Throwing myself into the decorations and gifts helped, but each year a darkness would creep up unexpectedly and I would struggle not to succumb to it and crawl under my covers until January. But showing up year after year – things have gotten easier.
Now the darkness no longer creeps in and I actually am enjoying some aspects of Christmas. I wouldn’t say I’m the oowy-gooey elf that drips with everything sugar and sweet. Sometime in November I still do have to sit down with myself and have a little chat about the upcoming celebrations. But, it’s much, much better.
If you love Christmas – and have always loved Christmas, that’s awesome. But, if for whatever reason, the holiday brings more pain than joy – I’m going to share some things that have helped me over the years. Maybe just try one this season. I’ve found that if I do something with a good mindset – I remember the event as a good, positive one and tend to forget the not so great parts. Same thing is true on the other side – if I focus my mental energy on the negatives, years later I look back at that event or season and remember how miserable I was.
Look for new holiday traditions that are different from the ones surrounding your painful experiences. For me these are a few we have adopted:
- Christmas movie marathon
- Christmas Groove, is a local benefit concert I really enjoy each year
- Advent Candles – focus on the true meaning of Christmas – read a Scripture passage each night
- Giving to those I wouldn’t normally give to
- Be thankful. Look for the good parts of your past or of today.
- Lastly – treat Christmas like fudge. A little goes a long way. Short bursts not endless sweetness.
If you are struggling, my heart goes out to you. Amid so much glitter and bright packages often pain is hidden. Know you are not alone. Don’t give up – do the hard thing until the hard thing isn’t hard anymore.
Sometimes the traditions and expectations can overwhelm us and leave us feeling empty. The best cure I’ve found is to find a few minutes to sit quietly alone and reflect on how much Jesus loves me – how much He’s shown me he loves me this past year.
Dear Jesus – I’m sorry I often make it all about me. Thank you for sending your Son to earth as a bitty baby. Thank you for the cross. What amazing love – love beyond comprehension. Thank you.