Although we sing about Christmastime being the “hap, happiest time of the year,” many people struggle to experience the joy of the season. Whether it’s family relationships, financial struggles or stress-filled schedules, this time of the year has the potential to make us feel emotionally snowed under. Here are a few holiday happiness boosters to help you discover delight in the season.
Determine to find the treasure in everyone. Let’s face it, during the holidays we are surrounded by a few (or more) negative and annoying people. But just as every coin has two sides, so every person has both difficult qualities and pleasant ones. Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find the hidden treasure in a person. Make it your own personal challenge to discover the treasure in every person you encounter from the lady in front of you in the checkout line to the family member who sees life differently than you.
Choose to forgive. Make a positive decision to give up the grievance or bitterness you are harboring in your heart toward someone. It is only weighing you down and making you unhappy. Move forward and let go of whatever you are holding onto, and you will experience a great sense of relief and freedom. You may need to continue to set wise boundaries from hurtful people, but hand your unforgiveness over to the Lord. He came at Christmas to offer forgiveness for all our sins, how can we not do the same for others?
Stay healthy. Be deliberate about taking care of your body during the holidays. Get the rest you need and don’t forget to take your vitamins (I know I sound like your mother). A good stress-relieving walk will strengthen you, both physically and emotionally. And be thoughtful about what you are putting in your mouth. If you eat yucky foods – you will only feel yucky. Try to be intentional about eating green and lean when you can throughout the holidays.
Give joyfully. Keep your gift-giving perspective bright and loving. Instead of getting frustrated and stressed out as you shop, turn your attitude toward the wonderful thought that this is an opportunity to bless others. Pray for each person on your list and ask the Lord to show you what would be meaningful to that person. Remember, you can choose your perspective, so shop with a heart filled with love rather than grumbling.
Be Thankful. Every morning this week, take a moment to thank the Lord for at least five ways He has blessed you. Gratitude to God brings a fresh delight to your day. As you thank God for your immediate blessings, take a moment to reflect on the fact that Holy God came to this earth as a humble baby to bring us the greatest present of all – His Presence. He came to show us love and to offer His life as a sacrifice for our sins.
My hope for you this Christmas is that you will find your strength in Him and that you will know the love He has for you.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9,10
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