If there isn’t genuine love behind our actions (a love that cares about the personhood of each member of our family, including our own self), then everything we do to make the holidays come off with a smash is really a big waste of time. It is! It helps to slow down a little bit and to give ourselves room to breathe. That’s number one.
Number two is to consider our ways. If we are harsh and brash and cutting and inconsiderate, then we aren’t sowing very good seed there. It is hard, I know it is. Something can trigger us (even without our being aware of it), and down the slippery chute we go. But we have to stand firm and be strong. As strong as we can be. We have to stay determined to give a happy holiday more than we are intent on getting one passively. Because, guess what—when we are focused on giving, the getting happens in the process. Our happiness comes as we seek to bring happiness to others. (Which is different from the codependent way of allowing our happiness be dependent on other people’s happiness.) We are not attempting to earn love—we must receive love from our God and ourselves and then we are free to give the love we want our family to have from us, without expecting anything (including love) in return (and here is where the “no expectations, no disappointment” way of life applies).
Number three is to care about presentation and appearance without allowing it all to define us. We are defined by the God who created us. And so this holiday season, let us be joyful because of God’s gift to us as we allow that joy to spill over into the way that we celebrate the momentous event of Jesus’ birth.