Christmas day is fast approaching. The holiday season is upon us. It’s a special time of year. You can feel it everywhere you go. Twinkling lights, busy shoppers, and children eager for Santa to arrive. People just seem to be a little bit kinder and excitable during this season.
Christmas is usually a joyous, happy time of the year, but for a lot of people it can be a sad reminder of things lost and unreachable. A lot of times the holidays make us stop and realize all the things we do and don’t have.
We remember our loved ones who have passed and are not able to be with us. They played an integral role in our lives, and when they leave we are lost on how to carry on without them. Christmas can sometimes bring these emotions to the forefront of our lives as this is a season that often reminds us of how strong relationships can be between those you love and those who love you. You miss them at the Christmas dinner table and reflect on memories you shared with one another.
Our financial struggles that seem inescapable, or poor health that prevents us from enjoying everything life offers, can make things especially hard during this time of year.
Giving and receiving gifts is a common thing to do during this season. Sometimes this causes deep distress and despair for those who are not financially able to keep up with the demands of what is expected during Christmas. The single mom who raises three children on her own working two jobs, or the dad who just lost his job and is struggling to support his family, can find this time of year to be very trying, humiliating and humbling. Most of us want to give those closest to us their deepest desires because we love and care for them, but a lot of times it is not possible.
Sometimes we are disappointed, not because what we receive is bad, but because our expectations are faulty – Rex D. Johnson
Something to take away from the struggles you might be facing is the ability to have a constant attitude of gratefulness and realistic expectations for your life. Nobody said life was easy, we are all probably more than aware of that right now. Something about the holidays though can REALLY show you how hard it truly is sometimes. Adopting a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude will help keep you in the right frame of mind and focused on the wonderful things you already possess and you have already become.
More so than any other time of the year, I think Christmas can do a lot to teach us about expectations and thankfulness.
Being grateful is not easy a lot of the times. Being constantly bombarded and expected to be more than you are and have more than you have can be confusing and mentally and emotionally exhausting.
This is where expectations come in. Although you have to define them for yourself, I encourage you to make sure you are constantly evaluating your expectations against what is real and genuine. Do not be misled or dismayed by what society tells you needs to happen for YOUR life.
Take control of your own expectations and never let them become materialistic or faulty.
When you approach each situation in life with good intentions and wise expectations, you will learn the skill of having a grateful soul and a thankful heart, which in turn, brings much more joy to your everyday life.
Although the holidays can break your heart, they also can be a time of great joy and thankfulness if you are determined to live with a grateful spirit. Love who you have and what you have, never ceasing to give thanks. Count your blessings and don’t forget the ultimate gift of all during this season, the one whose birth we are celebrating. Don’t forget to invite Him in this Christmas, it’s His party, after all.
Immanuel – “God with us!”