I was driving around all week in the madness that is Christmas shopping season. Traffic around my town is absolutely insane and it gave me time and plenty of reason to become very aware of the vibes circulating in the air right now.
I couldn’t help but notice how crazy things seem to be around this time of year. I saw people speaking poorly to retail associates and cashiers. I saw people stealing parking spots. I saw crazy driving and road rage at it’s finest. I saw tired faces that lacked smiles and bright eyes. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as I realized that the spirit of Christmas can be so drowned out in the chaos leading up to it.
‘Tis the season for…
Parking lots that look like war zones, jam packed with people fighting for a spot after having gotten dizzy from driving in circles.
Stores that are crowded, disheveled and full of us frantically trying to get in and out as quickly as possible.
Growing shopping lists and spending that appears never-ending.
Tension and emotions running high because there is so much to get done and so little time.
Workers who are working overtime and having their patience truly tested.
Last minute shoppers who are regretting their decision to wait.
People who feel lonely, depressed, left out and some who can’t afford to have a Christmas at all.
The memories of a loved one that is not with us this year.
Feelings of overwhelm for those in need, recovery or without family who fear or dread this time of year.
Disappointment that we aren’t where we thought we would be or wanted to be as another year is coming to a close.
I don’t say these things to dampen the spirit of Christmas but to get real about what’s actually going on in most people’s worlds right now. Like, let’s be honest, most of us are stressed to the max. We are walking around like zombies trying to get it all done.
For a moment, if I’m being honest, I caught myself getting frustrated in the mix of it all. I had to remind myself what Christmas is truly about; that it was a privilege to have people to shop for, the means to shop and that giving gifts was about showing my love, appreciation and kindness to others. I didn’t want to let the hectic energy around me interfere with how Christmas was going to go down. It caused me to really begin to consciously choose my experience.
Let’s all take a time out – a moment to just press pause on all of the stress, hustle, bustle and not-enough-ness – and to really get a grip on what this time of year means. If we can gently and calmly refresh our mindsets, I think we can all have a much more joyful and stress free holiday, just as it was designed to be. Here are a few friendly reminders that I had to bring back into my own awareness.
The older you get, your Christmas list grows shorter because you realize the things you want can’t be bought.
The experience of our family and celebrating what Christmas means is priceless. Spending time with the people we love and who love us is more important than any gift. There comes a time when you realize that nothing on your wish list could ever give you the happiness and joy that comes from feeling love from your loved ones. Let’s not forget that the best gift around any Christmas tree is the presence of a family completely wrapped up in each other. Cherish your loved ones because there are so many people who have no family or people to be with at this time. So, if you are one of those lucky people who do, relish in that and remember your presence will always be the greatest present.
The magic of Christmas is not in presents, but in His presence.
Let’s not forget the real reason for the season. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. The idea is to let His presence shower us with His peace, not create more stress. Christmas has morphed into a man-made retail frenzy these days and this has sadly taken away from what this day truly represents. God gave his one and only son as a gift to us, so we could live a life in forgiveness for our sins and come into relationship with him through Jesus Christ. It was through his birth into life, death and resurrection that we might have a chance at an eternal life in heaven if we so choose to embark on that relationship by accepting it into our hearts. Perhaps we all need to be reminded of the best gift we will ever receive and that is the Prince of Peace who died a brutal death for our greater good. There is no CHRISTmas without Christ. Let’s not forget this crucial meaning as we sit around the CHRISTmas tree, exchanging gifts and celebrating with our families, that we are gathering for Him and the only reason Christmas came into existence was to honor these truths.
Let the counting of our blessings be greater than the counting of our presents.
If you are reading this, you are blessed. It means you have a phone, iPad, computer or some sort of device to bring these words to a screen, which plenty of this world does not have the luxury of. So often we can forget how many blessings we have in our lives as we get stressed out, our wants and needs seem unending and we tend to focus on all that we are lacking. I encourage you to take some time to remember everything you DO have to be grateful for; all the things you were blessed with throughout the year, your life and right now in these moments. Let’s not be more concerned with counting presents under a tree than we are in counting the blessings that surround us.
The more you focus on your blessings, the more gifts you will realize you already have.
May you find happiness, joy and contentment in the delights of the season with these reminders. May you wrap all your packages with care and send out love into the world from a grateful heart that recognizes the blessings and meaning of Christmas. May you know how much I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. And should you be feeling alone or stressed please know that I am praying for you.
I sincerely hope each of you have a wonderful holiday with your families and that you know what a gift you are to this world now and always. Thank you so much for granting me a space in your lives. Merry CHRISTmas! xo