It is easy to get caught up in the holiday rush and the hustle-and-bustle of shopping and decorating and entertaining and ooo-ing and aahh-ing (Festival of Lights at the zoo, anyone?). And it’s all the more easy to think that the success of our holiday season is a result of (or at least directly dependent upon) our own efforts and our own planning and our own awesomeness. To a tiny extent, sure. Effort and planning and believing in our own awesomeness are all important. But let us keep in the front of our minds that the holidays (and Christmas in particular) is about something and someone larger that our self (like Jesus Christ, in the case of Christmas).
There’s a radio station in my area that includes in its advertising a line about how its music supports Christ-centered living, and it got me thinking about how profound that is and how simply it shifts our perspective if we’re not really sure about who or what we are living for. And then it got me thinking about how Christians (or at least certain veins of them) sometimes put so much emphasis on “faith” and “prayer” (both good things!) that it could lead one to believe that we (and our efforts to “have faith” and “pray always”) deserve the credit when things go well for us (like having a smoothly pulled off holiday season). If we can just shift the perspective a little bit and see that Jesus Christ is the reason for the season (truly!), our new-found view of things will help us to exercise a Christ-centered faith (which informs our efforts) instead of a self-centered one. This, indeed, makes all the difference.
Included here are a few thoughts to contribute to our having a holiday season that is wonderfully happy and warm and bright. Stress and anxiety can hijack the holidays, and trying to impress people gets us on a misdirected track (i.e., one that is going in the wrong direction). Before we get too far off course, let’s bring it back to the heart of what the holiday season is all about: being with those we love, enjoying our time with them, making memories that will last for lifetimes, and honoring the reason why there are holidays to even celebrate.
I certainly do not have the best track record for surviving the holidays with grace and skill. I’m still very much learning the terrain. But there have been a few mind tricks that I have picked up along the way that have worked wonders for me, and I am excited to share them with you now. Best wishes to you and yours for an honestly happy holiday season.