The holiday season often presents what appears to be a tenuous balance of joy and sorrow, for many people. For some, it is a time of total elation; for others it can be a time of devastating depression. This time of the year, can be particularly difficult for those who lose loved ones.
How can a person maintain a healthy balance of joy and sorrow?
Here are twelve tips to consider during the holiday season.
1. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
Remember that the birth of Jesus Christ is the real reason, that Christmas is celebrated by Christians, all around the world. Jesus represents the personification of divine love. God’s love is something that we can claim as our own, at any time. Remember that God promises to send us His Comforter, in our times of sorrow. He can turn our sorrow into joy. Expect that to happen in your life.
2. Keep the commercial aspect of Christmas, in its proper perspective.
Remember that the commercial aspect of Christmas, is not really what the holiday season is all about. Many times Christmas is over-commercialized and that leaves those who are in financial difficulty or dire straits, feeling blue, discouraged and despondent, in spite of the fact that during the rest of the year, they appear to be able to cope with their lives, reasonably well. Remember that the Santa Claus tradition is fun, fantasy and fiction. Anyone can enjoy it, by playing Santa.
3. Focus on others, instead of on yourself.
Celebrate Christmas, by sharing love with someone else, in some way. It can be a simple as a smile, a handshake, an unexpected visit, or the giving of a gift or a token. Consider making a donation to someone in need, or to a worthy cause. Spend time with a child, a disabled person or a senior citizen.
4. Recognize the real reason that gifts are given at Christmas.
The birth of Jesus Christ was God’s gift of love to humankind. We can give gifts to one another and in doing so, share His love with others. We don’t have to do that, but it can be a wonderful gesture of kindness, that imparts joy to others.
5. Become a person who wishes others a “Merry Christmas”.
Make a point of contacting family members or friends, particularly those who you have not seen, or heard from, for a long time, or those who you know who might benefit from a phone call, or an unexpected visit. Wish them a “Merry Christmas!” That may be the one thing that they remember, all the rest of the year. Try to make someone else happy and you will find that it makes you happy too.
6. Take time to attend some special events.
Special events are held everywhere during the holiday season, at churches, schools, community centers, etc. Many of them do not cost anything to attend. Make a point of going. Take someone else along with you and enjoy them together. If you cannot get out, enjoy them on television.
7. Do not over-indulge during the holidays.
Over indulgence in food, drink or sweets, at any time, can cause a person to feel unwell, despondent and fatigued. During the holidays, there is the possibility of over-indulging almost anywhere, on something. One may wind up feeling guilty about over-indulging and gain excess weight, as a direct result. Do something else instead. Take a long walk, or get some other exercise. Read a good book and you will be glad that you did.
8. Plan on doing something special, at some time, over the holidays.
Begin a new project of some kind. That will help to relieve the feelings of emptiness, or loneliness, that you experience during the holidays. Focus on the project, not on your feelings. Keep busy. Consider shoveling snow for an elderly person, babysitting some children or walking a neighbor’s dog. Or, concentrate on creating an original work of art, a love poem, a children’s story or start a new novel. Share what you know and what you are doing, with others.
9. Always look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Even the darkest hour has a light somewhere, but sometimes a person has to look for it, in order to find it. If you are in the depths of despair, look up and you may see a star, that is twinkling in the distance. Call it your Christmas star. Show it to someone else.
10. Sing, or play some Christmas carols.
Most people can sing, dance or play some kind of a musical instrument. Joyful music is always one way to brighten up even the darkest day. If you cannot sing, read the Christmas story aloud to someone, or to a group of people.
11. Think positive, constructive thoughts during the holidays.
Refuse to entertain negative, destructive or self-destructive thoughts, during the holiday season. Don’t even consider harming yourself, or others, as an option. God wants sin to die, not man. Confess your guilt to God. Claim forgiveness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Christmas should be a time of celebration, blessing and joy. We cannot eradicate or avoid all pain and sorrow, but we can focus on the good, instead of that which makes us sad.
12. Be your real self during the holiday season.
Always try to be yourself, not someone whose role you cannot fit into. God created you exactly as you are, at any particular moment in time, so enjoy being you. Sorrows have way of disappearing, when you focus on multiplying joy.
13. Focus on life rather than death. Live life well, regardless of your circumstances. Life is intended to be lived fully, so celebrate the holidays with that in mind.
Sorrows have way of disappearing, when you focus on multiplying your joys and those of others. Joy comes as a double portion. One portion is for you; the other portion is to be shared, with someone else! Keep the balance. Remember that It is always tilted in your favor, as God is on your side.