The Holidays are upon us… the hustle and bustle, shopping for the perfect gift, and dealing with life all at the same time. The struggle is real!
Christmas is not a joyous time for everyone. It’s not because they aren’t thankful; for the birth of Christ, for family, friends, or even gifts. There are a variety of reasons that Christmas is difficult for folks, and life is frequently to blame.
Some of my friends reading this article might be surprised that I am not necessarily a “Christmas Person” others know that about me already. I’ve gotten better over the years. Sure, when my girls were small, I enjoyed the holidays and spending time with family. We had many traditions, some of which we continue to this day. But I was never the person that couldn’t wait to put up the tree, or play Christmas tunes.
My birthday is in December. This could be one of my Christmas “issues”. A good friend of mine has a saying, “bride at every wedding, corpse at every funeral.” I’m not saying that I don’t want to share my birth month with the Savior, but aren’t we all just a little selfish about being celebrated?
If I’m honest, I realize that I let myself get caught up in what was wrong with Christmas, rather than what was right! Many years ago (too many, really), five days after my seventh birthday, my Grandfather passed away suddenly at the age of 52. Add insult to injury, a few days later our dog died. As you can imagine, Christmas at our house was very sad.
Unfortunately, my Grandmother never enjoyed Christmas again after that. I was young and impressionable, the rest of the family loved Christmas, so it only made sense that I should band with her in solidarity. Some years were better than others. But frequently “life” kept me from fully embracing Christmas.
My mom is my hero. She is perfect in my eyes … except, she loves Christmas. She spends a week decorating her home, and cherishes every minute. Several years ago I was playing my usual Scrooge persona, and she was busy spreading Christmas cheer. And then she called my bluff. She asked, “Is this the legacy of your Grandmother that you want to live on through you?” I realized then that I had spent too long blaming Christmas for the sadness I felt rather than thanking Christmas for all of my joy.
I’m not going to lie. I still have my struggles during the holidays. I am happy to say that I have learned some coping mechanisms over the year. Taking care of me is one of the most important. I try to do something active every day, eat healthy (mostly), celebrate annual traditions, sing Christmas carols, and simply enjoy all of the wonderful experiences with family and friends. I also take time to thank God for his Son, born in a manger, the ultimate sacrifice for me.
No matter how “life” is happening, I choose Christ, the only life of hope.
By Diana Lang