Hope, Faith, Joy and Peace. Which one do you find most challenging during the holiday season?
This was asked of my women’s community group earlier this week and majority said Joy, myself included. It was very eye opening… on one hand, it made me sad to know so many find this a difficult time of year. But, on the other hand, I was somewhat comforted to know I’m not alone.
To the mom or grandma whose heart breaks because of strained family dynamics, or the widow who will spend her first Christmas in decades without her lifetime partner, you are not alone.
I love Christmas. The lights, the music, the decorations, the baking, the parties, the pictures, get-togethers with family and friends. I look forward to it every year and am sad when it’s over. I know Christmas with little kids is extra special. I know time is fleeting and to savor these years and memories. I know all these things, yet I am still guilty of letting Joy slip away and the stress take over.
The shopping, the wrapping, delivering all the gifts to all the people, all the teachers, the programs, the food, making sure you don’t forget anyone or anything. Finding time to do it all with no one else around. All alone.
The same things I look forward to are the things that can become overwhelming, stressful and joy-stealing.
So, to the mom who’s trying to do all the things for all the people and feels the pressure to enjoy and savor it all the while… you are not alone. Heck, if you were having a break down in the Walmart parking lot this week, I was probably just a few rows over doing the same.
I realize this may come too late, after you’ve already had multiple melt-downs. Again, you’re not alone there. But we still have a few more days. The days that really count. The days to be with family. While for some, the Joy will come easier now that the preparation is done. For others, these are the hardest few days to get through.
A friend shared this advent devotional early on in the season and it has certainly helped me cling to Faith. I’ve held tight to this excerpt, even printing and hanging it on my bathroom mirror. Ann’s daily words of encouragement have certainly helped keep me focused through the craziness.
Let me be clear, I know the reason for the season, I know it’s not all about the gifts. I do know these things. And I hope you know them, too. What you may not know is you can have the right focus, the right intentions and still let all the other things steal your Joy…. just know you are not alone.
As we close in on the last few days before Christmas, let’s vow to take it back. To be present with each other. To be present with the Lord. To be grateful for what we have. It may not be every minute of every day, but let’s try our best to find Joy in little moments. Let’s bring Joy to those we may not realize are struggling to find it this holiday season. Let’s not let commercialism, or the digital age, or comparison take over. Let’s be honest with ourselves and each other about our struggles so we can form a community of togetherness.
Thank you to the woman who had the courage to ask this of our little community group. Now, I ask you, which do you find most challenging?
I wish you all a very blessed Christmas,