In many traditions, in our busy world, the holidays signify the time of leisure, of relaxing, reconnecting and spending quality time with loved ones. Initially intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we’re accustomed to Christmas as: “‘Tis the season to be Jolly!”
Regardless of where we are in life, most of us cannot help but feel the joy and excitement of Christmas. Our senses are filled with aromas of pine, cloves and cinnamon, candy canes, home cooked meals and enticing desserts. We are intrigued with the colorful lights, decorations and trees adorned with beautiful ornaments. Our ears tune into the piped music and carolers singing cheerful Christmas songs, plus the laughter and squeals of little children, as they wait in line to sit on Santa’s lap.
Who could not help but feel joyful in such an uplifting atmosphere?
Add shopping and gift-giving to the picture and the air is full of amazing delight… until we suddenly find ourselves in the long shopping lines, heavy traffic and are too tired to cook dinner. Next thing we know, we get caught up in unnecessary quarrels, disagreements, and misunderstandings with our loved ones, with hope that all becomes resolved in time for Christmas.
There are some who find themselves to be less fortunate, thereby making it far more challenging to rejoice in the Spirit of Christmas. Think of individuals, couples and families who are experiencing their first Christmas alone, perhaps without a special loved one due to a recent loss, break-up, or separation. Or those left in a nursing home, or who have recently moved away from family and friends. Instead of feeling “jovial” they may feel sad, abandoned, isolated or heartbroken.
And what about those who’ve experienced tragedy, losing their homes or belongings to theft or natural disaster? Or those who are in the hospital with a serious injury or devastating illness? Rather than feeling joyful and excited about Christmas, these people are feeling helpless, disheartened, scared and even in great pain.
The most precious gift we can give anyone during these challenging times, including to ourselves, is genuine love, empathy, and positive regard.
Take this time to remember a loved one who may have departed recently, leaving you with sad and painful memories. After releasing any remaining emotions with several deep cleansing breaths, begin to remember your loved one in a way you celebrated with them previously. Think of how they smiled, laughed, and rejoiced with you. Think of how they would want you to feel happy, peaceful, and grateful during this holiday season.
After all, they are still in our hearts and still with us in spirit… so let’s celebrate that!
Try not to get so caught up in the “holiday spirit” that you neglect the very person or people that matter most to you, even if you end up in those long shopping lines, heavy traffic or just missed that last item you hoped to get by the person who picked it up before you. Take a few moments to offer random acts of kindness to both those you know and those you don’t know.
Remember, holidays are “days off” from normal day-to-day activities and it is truly the time to enjoy and relax with those you care about.
And if you are caring for someone less fortunate, be sure to take good care of yourself as well. Get the rest you need, eat the proper foods and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, healthy, grounded, and strong. Trust that you (and your loved one) are divinely loved and blessed by the greater good and that all will be resolved, soon. Choose to be grateful, hold to pleasant thoughts or memories, and keep a gentle loving smile on your face.
- Be grateful and express your appreciation towards others.
- If someone is having a difficult time coping with this holiday season, reach out to them. This will help you as much as it does them.
- Accept and acknowledge random acts of kindness shared with you by others – especially if they were not aware of it.
- Be more patient with yourself and with others.
- Focus on maintaining healthy eating habits, stay hydrated with pure water, get proper rest and exercise.
- Let go of past regrets and fears of the unknown.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember to keep giving the gift of LOVE.
Here’s wishing you new memories filled with joy, hope and peace for this and many seasons to come!