The holidays trigger emotions for just about everyone. Some are good, some not special. Loneliness and fear can pull us down into anxiety and distress.
The Answers - Fellowship
Fortunately, our Creator knew from the beginning (Genesis) that it was not good for us to be alone all the time. By planning time with others, Christmas, New Years and every other end of year holiday have the potential to be enjoyable feasts of fellowship rather than deserts of alone time.
Be the party. While you may not be in a position to invite fifty persons to your home, you can certainly round up a few others and go out to a meal, meet for a movie or join each other at a special Church service. By organizing the event, you have the opportunity to minister to others who may be feeling apprehensive, wishing they had plans or just wish someone would invite them to do something.
The Answers - Financial
Many people put themselves into very stressful situations by encouraging their families to have large gift exchanges. While it can be fun to give and receive gifts, make sure that the giving is mutual, enjoyable and within your budget. Don't tie yourself up financially for months into the New Year just to play the big shot at your family's gift exchange. Suggest drawing names or at least limiting the cost for adult gifts to a reasonable amount.
The Answers - Disarm Emotional Boobytraps
First Christmases after a death, divorce or other family tragedy can be filled with landmines. Think ahead about the seating at the dinner table (maybe have a buffet instead of sitting in the familiar seating arrangement.) Change up the order of events to include the Christmas Story from the Bible or a passage from an inspirational Christmas tale instead of focusing things of the past. Find new positive or fun activities to do with the children that send everyone's thoughts into the now instead of the past. Some families even choose to do a destination Christmas far from home, just to avoid that first year without the loved one.
The Answers - Spiritual
Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. If we have been struggling spiritually, this is a good time to spend personal Bible Study time and prayer getting re-acquainted with Christ. He wants to be involved in every part of our life. Plan your 2017 in light of what you think Christ is asking you to do for His Kingdom. Jesus is the best companion ever and He wants to spend time with each of us.
The Answers - Physical
One of the best things we can do to brighten our holidays is to put our health near the top of our priorities. If you belong to a gym, commit to regular exercise and perhaps even increase your normal routine to become better during the holidays. Don't overeat. Wouldn't it make you feel amazing to actually lose five pounds through the holidays instead of putting weight on? Walking can be relaxing and healthful, but not at a crowded mall will people pushing and shoving. Find a beautiful area and perhaps take a friend to walk with you.
Praying for you, my readers, that your holidays will be some of the best ever. Love someone who really needs it this year.