Have you ever noticed that many of the songs we sing at Christmastime are reminders that Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? Songs like, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” are examples.
But remember, Elvis Presley once sang, “I’ll Have a Blue, Blue Christmas.” And maybe that’s what you are feeling this Christmas season will be like for you—blue, sad, maybe even depressing.
You might have lost a loved one by death this year. Perhaps your car broke down, the refrigerator has died, the heating system has gone out, or there just isn’t much money. Someone you loved walked out of your life. It’s hard for you to have a holly, jolly Christmas. So what can you do to recover some hope this Christmas? Here are 5 practical ways.
Rethink Your Expectations
People who struggle with feelings of disappointment at Christmas usually put too much energy into trying to make it a “perfect” Christmas. Some things, however, will not go as planned. You might run out of wrapping paper. You will forget to buy batteries. Your turkey could turn out a little dry. The kids (or adults) will squabble and fuss.
Here’s a tip. Instead of asking, “What will this Christmas be like for me?,” Ask, “What will I be like this Christmas?” The first question makes you the center of attention. Instead, make an expectation of yourself. “What will I be like for Christmas? Will I be depressed, or will I choose to be a positive, joyful person? Will I be inflexible and rigid, or will I choose to go with the flow?”
Rethink Your Obligations
If you are like me you have an abundance of obligations from January through November. But what do we do when December comes? We just add more to our schedules. We have to find time to decorate and to shop. We have parties to attend, and more. The overload to our schedules sets us up for declining energy, stress, disappointment, and a case of the blues.
Come to the realization that you can’t do it all. There might be some events you can’t attend. Some gifts that you won’t buy. Some decorating that would be nice, but you just don’t have the time. It’s OK to say, “I can’t do it all.”
Remember Your Blessings
This Christmas, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. God has not abandoned you, forgotten you, or left you high and dry. Instead, He really has blessed you abundantly. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself, count your blessings.
Why not begin to identify those 3, 4, or 5 things in your life that are particularly precious to you—your children and grandchildren, your health, your accomplishments, your talents, your relationships, your spouse, are examples. Thank God for those blessings. You can wallow in self-pity at this time of year, or you can count your blessings and find much to be thankful for.
Focus on Others
Doing something for someone else has always been a surefire way to beat the blues. Helping others takes your focus off your problems and your personal miseries. Sharing and giving are 2 powerful tools for overcoming the Christmas blahs.
Volunteer to babysit for a busy, overworked mother. Visit someone who is lonely at this time of year. Consider providing Christmas gifts for a needy family. There really is no shortage of ways you can focus on others this Christmas.
The real meaning of Christmas is that God Himself became a flesh-and-blood human being in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a sinless life even while enduring the same pressures and temptations we face. According to God’s plan, Jesus died on a Roman cross, and in doing so, took our sins upon Himself, so that we could be forgiven of all our shortcomings and failures. God did all this through Jesus because He loves you deeply. He wants you to commit yourself to living for Him. Have you done that?
Here’s what I’m trying to say to you. In addition to family celebrations and parties, don’t forget to celebrate Jesus. Without Jesus your life is nothing. With Him your life is everything. And that’s hopeful!