Reclaim a Spirit of Gratitude This Christmas Season
At this time of year, the stress levels for many are almost too much to bear. We struggle through the ups and downs of the season, as we navigate family, friends, work, our budget and our church life. It’s all too easy to become frustrated and angry and then to lose sight of our priorities. The key to changing all this: thankfulness—for Christ, salvation, and what we have been given.
During Christmas season, we can often find ourselves up awake at night, wondering about all that is and all that could be. As we stare at the ceiling, we struggle with the thought that maybe we’re not living up to what God intended for us to be. And indeed, there are always areas we can improve but much of this self-doubt is probably rooted in ungratefulness.
We all have the blessing of Jesus, who saves, as well as many other blessings. If only that were our focus instead!
When we really get down to it, there’s an obvious point that we all know but that maybe we should take a second to remind ourselves of: This season is about Jesus, or at least it’s supposed to be. Breathe that in. Tell yourself that every day. Remember what Jesus did for us, and be thankful for it. It will change everything.
And then, take a moment to remind yourself how the one who gave it all calls us to give it all for the betterment of our world.
When we give, our thought patterns change—and our general attitude about life changes. We find ourselves realising what God can do through our lives and then we find ourselves grateful for it; after all, Jesus is the reason for the season.
Remembering the True Meaning of Christmas.
Μου έλειψες, μου λείπεις, two words.
The power and feeling of those words connects us with “missing someone”.
Christmas time can be a very painful time for many missing a loved one, living or deceased.
How ever their presence has departed, the feeling of that person no longer in your life leaves an emptiness that lingers and a sadness that weighs heavy on your heart.
Whilst Christmas gatherings for some depict the Hallmark representation of an idyllic picture, for others it’s spent alone or without loved ones who have since passed on and suffer that heart-wrenching feeling of grief and loss. People can also experience grief and loss in other kind of ways, whether it be by death, divorce or departure of a person in some other form and that can leave one feeling debilitated and lifeless.
There are many reasons why some people live a very solitary life, there are people living alone who are lonely and despondent. They are also the ones who are on their own who wish they weren’t. They are on the outside of the romantic juggernaut of coupling that is so relentlessly celebrated, looking in with longing. We must teach ourselves to value and attend to friends and family, not as way-stations between relationships or careers.
Life and people can be cruel, so be kind, be mindful and be respectful, to those you know and those you don’t.; many depend on the kindness of strangers. You don’t know what someone is going through; emotionally, mentally, financially, it can all be very overwhelming. More so this time of year. A very lonely time for many; people feel alone, others have nothing and are afraid. The days ahead over the Christmas and New Year celebrations, challenge yourself to check in your family and friends who are spending the holidays alone. Keep an eye out for those going through a hard time. For many it’s the happiest time of the year, for others it’s the saddest.
It is important to remember that “picture perfect” images that saturate social media feeds, is not always what it seems. Not all images portray the truth, no one’s life is perfect all the time, so don’t believe everything you see on social media. It may be a good idea to stay off social apps during this season.
If you have the power, the means or compassion to help or change someone’s life, day or holiday season, please do so and do it without any expectation of anything in return because true kindness lies within the act of giving without the expectation of anything in return. The act of kindness goes a long way. It can be something so simple and small, yet so incredibly impactful.
Don’t allow your ego to hold grudges, nor be unforgiving or ignorant. Now would be a better time than any to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time or someone you stopped talking to. Cutting off communication with someone for petty or no-good-reason, can leave someone deeply hurt and confused; agree to disagree on matters that drove a divide between you. A straightforward attempt of contact to someone could change everything to a person hurting. Consider braving up and mending bridges with special people who were once part of your year or life. Let this holiday season be a reason to reach out and wish that someone a Merry Christmas or best wishes for the coming year! Any expressions of care in some form are inevitably appreciated. Similarly, we humans long to be acknowledged it nourishes the soul, we need that motivation that keeps us going, that necessary boost needed to overcome obstacles and challenging circumstances. So give the gift of generosity, care, love, forgiveness and kindness, the ultimate gifts that keep on giving!
A pure heart and spiritual soul has its benefits, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8
Attending church is also a very spiritual and healing practice that will ultimately guide you through this life and to the next, of eternity to the Kingdom of God. Keep your faith and prayers up and always ask and allow God to lead your way.
May the festive holiday spirit remind you of the true spirit of Christmas, Christ.
If you are struggling with any kind of depression, anxiety or crisis, please call your country’s national charity helpline who provide confidential support.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 (Australia)
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 (Australia)
Read also: Jesus is the Reason for the Season