For many, this time of year can be very hectic. We may feel overwhelmed by company and family parties to host or attend, gifts to buy and wrap, and the endless varities of traditions that accompany the holiday season. If you're feeling stressed, consider these four tips that will help you experience peace and happiness.
• Remember the reason for the season.
Find ways to turn your hearts to God and away from the materialism that bombards us. Spend time daily in prayer and meditation. Thank God for the countless blessings that you enjoy. Reflect upon the tender mercies that you experience on a daily basis. Notice that every breath you take, every bite of food that you eat, and every good thing you enjoy is a gift from Him. Thank Him for the gift of His Son, which is a gift too magnificent to comprehend and fully appreciate.
• Find joy in the simple things.
We had the pleasure of hosting my husband’s widowed brother for the weekend. Terry has buried two dear wives and two sons. He could be bitter, angry, and self-pitying, yet he spent hours talking about the blessings he enjoys.
Was he angry when his wives and sons died? Absolutely. For some time Terry was angry at God, and he still wonders why He lost those who are so dear to him. But now Terry focuses on what he can do for others. He writes a positive thought each day and texts it to many friends and family members. He serves his grandchildren and children. He savors the beauties of nature. He visits the lonely and those who are grieving and offers them comfort, and he is peaceful.
Although he has few material possessions, Terry lives a rich life because he has discovered the secret to happiness: that a generous, kind spirit coupled with a grateful heart creates peace. There are so many who are forgotten at Christmastime and throughout the year who need your kind words, your listening ears, and your loving deeds. Ask God to direct you to someone who needs you and discover the true meaning of Christmas.
• Focus on giving not getting.
Although my husband and I are not wealthy, we have a comfortable life. Consequently, we ask our loved ones to give to a charity of their choice at Christmas time instead of giving us a gift. Our immediate family members pool their resources and find a destitute family that we can help. We, along with our sons, sons-in-law, daughters and daughters-in-laws, have the joy of giving food, clothing, and gifts to a family who would otherwise have nothing at Christmas. There is no sweeter gift that we can give ourselves at Christmas than sharing with someone in need.
• Remember that it not about the presents but about His presence.
The Spirit of God is a comforter and peace-giver. As we invite the Spirit into our hearts and homes by the peaceful thoughts we think, the uplifting music we select, and the loving words and deeds that we choose, we experience the true spirit of Christmas. A loving God hears and answers our prayers. He wants us to feel His love and experience the peace of His spirit. As we seek to live worthily to feel His Spirit, He will direct us to ways that we can find peace...even when we are experiencing sorrow.
© Carol Brown