Table of Contents
- Lesson # one: Limit exposure to “Scrooges” if you want your journey to be quiet.
- Lesson # two: Feel the anticipation
- Lesson # three: Remember. That makes for a quiet journey
- Lesson # Four: Think about the world on your journey
- Lesson # five: Don’t let depression spoil your Christmas journey.
I want to take a quiet journey to Christmas this year. I’ve been giving some real thought as to how I’ve celebrated Christmas in the past, how Christmas almost became ChristMISS on a few occasions. I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen this year.
Let me be honest, I LOVE Christmas!! I love the anticipation, the crafting, the baking, the music, and the snow. I love all things plaid and fuzzy. I’m always torn between the natural look, the glitzy look, and the cutesy look. So usually, I incorporate all three.
I wanted to make sure I never let Christmas spiral down into a list of things to do. For me, that means I have to be organized, having my presents bought and wrapped, the house decorated, and the cookie dough all frozen by the first of December.
And at times, I’ve let the “bah humbungers” damper my enthusiasm. I want quiet time for reflection, but I have to be deliberate about it, meaning I have to plan for it. And one of ways I want to do that is by reading some inspirational books. I want time to put myself in Mary’s place as best I can and feel what I believe she felt, anxiety, fear, and confusion, while at the same time, excitement, hope, and joy.
And I want to experience the fun of the season as well, which brings me to:
Lesson # one: Limit exposure to “Scrooges” if you want your journey to be quiet.
Sometimes you can’t, but when you can, avoid them. Just because some people don’t enjoy the journey to Christmas, doesn’t mean they have the right to dampen yours. Remember what I wrote last week about guarding your heart? It’s especially important during the Holiday season.
Smile at everyone you meet. Be like Elf and make smiling your favorite. (If you’ve never watched the movie “Elf”, do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s clean and fun.)
If you choose to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, do so. It’s your right. You don’t have to be politically correct, but don’t do it just to make a point, either.
Christmas shouldn’t be political.Tweetmas
Lesson # two: Feel the anticipation
Allow yourself to feel the excitement instead of the panic as the days count down. (The anticipation of any event is half the fun anyway). I will anticipate the long hours in the kitchen baking cookies and candy. When you get tired, remind yourself you got there doing the things you enjoy. I will look forward to the reading of the Christmas story on Christmas morning.
Anticipate the looks on the faces of those for whom you’ve created some special gifts. Ignore who don’t get into the spirit of the event. I will focus on my own good time and those who are enjoying it as much as I do.
Lesson # three: Remember. That makes for a quiet journey
I will remember that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts I give but also about the gifts I’ve received. No, it’s not what you think. I’m talking about the gifts I’ve already received. And I’ve received so many.
I’m talking about:
- the gift of a loving husband
- a wonderful family
- good friends
- shelter, and food
- dreams and hopes
And, I think, when it comes right down to it, most people feel the same way. Or maybe it’s just my naivete speaking. But I hope not.
Lesson # Four: Think about the world on your journey
I recently saw a movie that centered on the genocide taking place in Africa. I’d seen it before, but it didn’t impact me the way it did this time. One scene, in particular, featured a child whose condition I can’t begin to describe. Words fail because they are just words.
As I sit here and write, my surroundings seem almost obscene. I’m not hungry or thirsty. I’m not sweltering in the heat or freezing from the cold. I have clothes on my back and shoes on my feet. I’m not worrying about whether I will eat today—or tomorrow. Whether I will have a glass of water to drink.
As I sit here in my comfortable surroundings, I wonder if I’m doing enough to relieve suffering in my own part of the world. I’m worried that maybe I’m not. I’ve been “gifted” way beyond what I deserve. When we deliberately look at the rest of the world, we can’t help but be thankful.
Grateful people are generous people. Ungrateful people are not.Me.
Lesson # four: Embrace your gifts and don’t apologize
I have always been one of those people that hide their gifts in a basket. I don’t like talking about my books even though I know I have to because it’s part of being a writer. Then I realized this is just wrong because it’s an insult to God. Jesus said not to do that. (Matthew 5: 14-16)
So, I decided I will embrace my gifts because to do otherwise is to say to God that he needn’t have bothered giving them to me. I won’t cheapen God’s blessings with anything less than heartfelt gratitude for the abilities he has given me. This is what Christ commands us to do, use our abilities and don’t apologize. It does no one any good.
You can be humble and yet honest about your gifts and abilities.Tweet
Lesson # five: Don’t let depression spoil your Christmas journey.
This blog is my gift to whoever reads it. Freedom from depression has been a gift I certainly never thought I would open. Christmas can trigger depression for a lot of people… stress, family complications, financial issues. The yearning for the perfect Christmas and the reality of anything but. We get tired and obsess over unimportant details. And that makes our Christmas journey anything but quiet. But we can embrace even that, knowing what we do, we do out of love.
I live in Michigan, and the days are getting shorter. That day in December is coming when the daylight hours will be at their lowest level. But the very next day, it stays lighter longer. Depression is like that. Our darkest day can be followed by a brighter one if we’ll just hang in there.
(There are a LOT of posts on this blog regarding mental health.)
The miracle of Christmas is much more than a physical birth-it is spiritual re-birth. It is a gift to the world to be unwrapped by each of us.Tweet
God approaches us as the unique people we are.
I used to think we all had to unwrap this gift the same way. That we all had to use it the same way. I don’t believe that anymore. That’s the miracle of Christmas….
…that love reached down to us at Christmas, collectively, yes, but individually as well.
God reaches down to each of us as we are. God doesn’t ask us to be like our friends. He doesn’t expect us to change before he reaches out to us. But he finds us where we are and how we are and there is absolutely no one outside his reach unless they choose to be.
The miracle of hope
I truly hope each of you reading this post finds what you need in the miracle that is Christmas, that you make your own journey a quite one as best you can. Life can be tragic, as we know from so many recent mass shootings. Where’s the miracle in a tragedy? And yet there is. That miracle is hope.
The hope of healing. Isn’t that why God sent his Son? That we would be healed from our sins, yes, but hope for healing because we live in such a fallen world. I am working on a frame that I have covered in a stick-on, wood-looking contac paper. I thought of all the words I might put on it. For some reason, I thought of these words “…the weary world rejoices,” from “O, Holy Night.”
It is most defnitely a weary world. But we can rejoice because there is hope. Hope in the birth of Jesus-God as my grandson calls him. I love that.
Despite what goes on in the world, I believe we can find a degree of healing through the gift of love awaiting each of us.
God bless you today.