Friday, December 17, 2010

Curing the Christmas Blues

Christmas can be a difficult time. I hear so many people say that they can't wait for Christmas to be over. It is too stressful. It is too much work. It costs too much money.

While I understand that this is the true reality we have here in this country, it still makes me sad. Some of you may call me a sentimental fool or something even worse, but Christmas still gives me a warm feeling in my heart. I can't help but be overwhelmed with joy because of the true nature of the holiday.

I have never used this blog to talk about my faith. But earlier this week I saw a tweet from my Pastor that said the number one time people will talk about faith is during the Christmas season. He followed that by saying we have a great opportunity. I would like to take advantage of that opportunity today. If I am honest I have to say that I have always been uncomfortable sharing this part of my life here. But I know from reading The Bible that being afraid to acknowledge my faith is dangerous business.

Jesus tells us, "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. " (Mathew 10:32-33)

This combination of things has compelled me to really talk about Christmas as I know it this year. I need to share why Christmas makes me truly happy and excited. How can I not be excited knowing the following truth.

I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:10-11)

I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone out there who is feeling down this Christmas to do something about it. I have a three pronged solution. Any one of the three will help lift your spirits. All three should do even better. Don't be down during this wonderful time of year. Take time to reflect on what Christmas means and then share that love with someone else. Without further ado here is my cure for the Christmas blues.
  1. Pick up your bible and read the story of Jesus' birth. It is found in both Mathew Chapter 1 and Luke Chapter 2. If you don't have a bible visit Bible Gateway for an online version. God's word will comfort you while reminding you what this holiday is really about. It will also probably take you back to the happy times of your youth when you heard these words every year as part of some Christmas program. The story hasn't changed. We just neglect it.
  2. Go to church and take in a Christmas service. One of my favorite services of the year has always been on Christmas Eve. That service is always filled with beautiful Christmas songs. Forget about the stresses of the season. Just sing and be happy.
  3. Give. I don't mean give your nephew more toys or give your aunt a fruit cake. Give to the poor. Give to the needy. It's great to drop a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket, but to experience the true joy of giving it is better to get involved in a more personal way. Our church runs an organization in our town called Stomp Out Hunger where we feed local families in need. Our family is participating not only by giving food but by organizing bags and hopefully even delivering food. We all have heard that it is better to give than to receive. Well this year try it out. Be a cheerful giver to those less fortunate.
I am not here to judge how you spend your Christmas. I only want to share the things that make Christmas so special to me in the hope that it will make your holiday a little more enjoyable.

Most of you probably know by now that I am big on prayer. Odds are that if I have ever left a comment on your site then I have said a sincere prayer for you. My prayer right now is for everyone out there to have the best Christmas possible and to share it with all your family and friends. I pray your holiday season is filled with overwhelming love.

Merry Christmas!


Sheila said...

AMEN!!! I agree with you 100%!

SurprisedMom said...

I think you've hit on the true meaning of Christmas which is why your heart is lightened. Prayer is powerful. So is sitting in a room full of people offering their voices up to the Lord. I think Christmas can be such a dichotomy for people. On the one hand is the very commercial aspect, which introduces the stress in our lives, and the other is the real meaning of Christmas which can bring us peace. If we remember what is important, and never mind that the dressing is a little dry and that we forgot Aunt Mildred's gift, and that it will all work out, Christmas can be less stressful and more holy.

Faith is so important. It doesn't matter what religion you are, it matters if you believe. Maybe Christmas offers us a chance to believe, again.

WeaselMomma said...

This is an excellent post, Otter.

I have always loved Christmas Eve Mass. It always filled me with joy of the true reason for the season. I do have to say that for a few years it caused me much pain and it's joy was replaced with tears. It is now a bitter sweet event for me and I still can't get threw it without a few silent sobs. I am thankful for all the grace and gifts that the Lord has bestowed upon me, but still long for the one that he has taken away.

Merry Christmas and thank you for such wonderful perspective.

Tim Riley said...

I'm a sentimental sap myself, so I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of this post. It is sad that so many people find Christmas stressful. I love ths time of year, even more now as a parent.

KWG said...

Amen, brother. Not everyone believes in a Christian Christmas, but love, faith and hope are strong undercurrents of most spirituality, regardless of denomination. Something that should be celebrated year round. We went with number 3 on your list and donated clothes and toys to a local domestic violence women's shelter I volunteer at.

Keep the faith. And Merry Christmas.

Eric said...

Great post. I love picturing the whole scene in my head and wonder what it would be like to be a witness to the event.

seashore subjects said...

Love this post. With kids we have been attending Christmas Eve mass for years, but I long for the day I can return to midnight mass.

I often find it helpful to look at young children too. With their joy in making and doing for others the spirit of Christ is so evident.

Captain Dumbass said...

Merry Christmas to your soon to be big family.

PJ Mullen said...

I bet you if most people quit trying to kind the "perfect" gift, stopped flooding the stores at all hours to get a deal on some toy that their kids won't play with in 3 months and enjoy the spirit of the season they'd probably be a lot happier and less stressed. You know I'm not very religious. I go out of respect for my wife and to expose my children so they can decide for themselves. For the last five years or so I could care less about presents. I just want a nice few days with my family and not get consumed by the trivialities that have, regrettably, plagued and altered the meaning of this time of year.

Brandy@YDK said...

great post. very heartfelt.

Tom said...

Amen! We're right there with you on this. Remember the reason for the season: celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and emulating His ways.

Melisa with one S said...

Though your suggestions don't obviously apply to me since I'm Jewish, I think this is a great post. :)

I don't think I've ever heard so many people talking about their lack of Christmas spirit as I did this year; I hope they found their groove in time!