The Holidays Are Here! Just Breathe!

Let the beautiful craziness begin … the holiday season’s in full swing.

With Halloween dead and buried save for the remains of a few not-so-popular-left-over candy bar rejects … and as Thanksgiving Day already fades into another fond memory, the next BIG holiday approaches like a bolt of lightning!

CHRISTMAS!

Christmas Day is coming, but for many “Christmas” is already here and it’s been here for a while! It seems like that anyway! Have you noticed that every year the carols start playing a little sooner and Christmas trees are lit up and decorated before Tom Turkey even makes it to the oven on Thanksgiving!  What’s with that anyway? 

Hey!  I’m in no position to judge though … I’m usually one of those start-it-early folks! I totally LOVE Christmas on so many levels … so I’m eager and happy to get it started! But then I sometimes wonder why I’m in such a rush to bring on one holiday before we’ve even started the one before? Actually, I know the reason, but I’m going to keep you guessing!

Anyway, I got to thinking about the whole holiday season, and especially the short space of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas day … and oh what a wonderful-crazy-busy-stressful-emotion-packed-joyous time of year it always is! Wonderful and joyous because of the reason we celebrate the holiday in the first place, but crazy and stressful with the bazillion activities we stuff into that short gap of time.

We get busy decorating the house inside and out, assembling and dressing the tree, hoping all the bulbs light with that first flick of the switch. Then there’s the Christmas card fiasco … you know … choosing that one picture-perfect photo {or two or three or more} to adorn the annual greeting cards … followed by the addressing and mailing of …  how many are going out this year?  

Oh my! Are you hyperventilating yet? Lol!

But we’re just getting started! There are the family’s favorite goodies to bake, gifts to buy and wrap, stockings to stuff, toys to assemble {often in the wee hours after Christmas Eve} and parties to attend where the luscious food and drink captures our attention and the ensuing overindulgence steals our precious energy … energy desperately needed to fuel our crazy self-imposed schedules.

We fight endless lines of traffic on the roads and madding crowds of frazzled, frantic shoppers in the stores. Let’s not forget the airport runs to collect relatives if we’re the ones hosting this year … or the tedious, stressful travel conditions we must endure on our way “home” to the family if we’re going to them! But it’s all worth it right? It’s our family and {for most of us} being with them is paramount.

Speaking of family, emotions can run high at these times.  Truth is that our loved ones bring us the greatest joy in life … but they can also bring pain. Sometimes it’s because they’re with us … and sometimes it’s because they aren’t.

Does the very thought of extended family get-togethers cause you to hold your breath?

Just breathe!

Having lived through seventy-odd Christmases, as a child, an adult, a Mom, Grandma and Great Grandma, I can say with assurance that no two holidays are ever the same. They may be similar but each one is uniquely different.  In my personal experience, some seasons have been meager, others filled with abundance … and a few verged on indulgence to the point of being over-the-top!  In retrospect maybe it was my irrational attempt to compensate for an earlier time when a restricted budget bound my exuberance with restraints and constraints, leaving me with pangs of guilt for not being able to provide what I really wanted to.

Then I remember that no matter the state of our other resources, LOVE was always present in over-abundance and that’s what really matters, isn’t it?  Do you agree?

How are your family celebrations over the holidays? Some years our family gatherings are quiet and peaceful … others are loud and crazy. Sometimes we’re blessed by the gathering of the entire clan which fills my heart with joy. Other years we’ve felt the absence of a loved one who’s been called home … home to  the Lord.  Then there are times when one or more in the family are visiting in-laws. Occasionally one of the dear ones is all alone. This is the worst! Sadness and loneliness is never easy to endure, but during the holidays it’s unbearable.

Being surrounded by family and feeling alone isn’t easy either. Sometimes one of the family, while they’re clearly not alone physically, may feel a great sense of loneliness as they struggle inwardly over troubling personal circumstances, or private matters that the rest of the family may know nothing about … but their anguish is sensed … their preoccupation observed … as they visibly withdraw into self and away from those closest to them. This is painful. It’s painful to be the troubled one … and heart breaking for the loved ones who recognize the suffering, yet seem helpless to ease the pain.

I pray for all who are alone … and all who are lonely. May God bless you with His presence. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.

Everyone hopes for and expects family harmony during the holidays, but every once in a while, even the happiest and most loving of families have disagreements or emotional outbursts.  Personality clashes and conflicts may erupt unexpectedly, leaving a trail of hurt feelings and resentment in place of the anticipated joy and love. Be the calm in the storm and know that this too shall pass and ……

At times like this … just breathe!

To be continued … in part two  {coming soon} I’ll share what living through many holiday seasons has taught me about relationships, family dynamics, life and breathing through it all!

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

2 Comments

  1. it is very true ,lots of emotions ,i get through mine with the help of a loving,caring and the foundation they have all given me and for this i am blessedd next year will a happy year how do i know because the ALMIGHTY has ssaid so.

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