Finding Peace in the Christmas Rush

Finding Peace in the Christmas Rush

Dr. Rick’s December 2019 Newsletter

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recoveryour life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

In Matthew 11:28-30, MSG

During the holidays the thought of rest is one that seems all too elusive in today’s fast-paced culture of news, technology, work, demands of daily duties, children’s activities, and even church commitments. It’s ironic. With this in mind, let’s try to remember (even during this busy holiday season) to truly embrace and enact what He has perfectly promised us: REST. 

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, it seems there’s a holiday event most every day. Often we feel obligated or compelled to attend each one, regardless of the holiday stress we may be feeling. Ask the question, “What if I don’t go? What will happen?” When we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that we may not be missed.  Sometimes we need the downtime to better serve one another. What can help us through this busy season is to mark at least a few days to “reset” and try to make few plans for that day. Put away the electronics, put phones on silent, and take some time to rest and rejoice in the season. Avoid these prep days, and be amazed when you see what happens with the rest of your time. Instead of filling our days with activities, fill the days with peace.

We’ve all seen people sitting together but not with each other gathered, yet looking down at some kind of device, tapping away to someone else. Make those invited to your holiday event aware that your gathering is “unplugged.” Honor each other and the time spent together enough to put down the phones. Talk, laugh and enjoy the moment. 

Most importantly, this is a holy season to celebrate the Light and Peace coming to the world. We must allow ourselves to rest in order to find holiday stress relief. It’s important to be still. If our priority is truly to celebrate the birth of Christ, then let’s invite Him to guide and guard our steps this season. Engage in conversational hugs and fun. Set limits to the “must dos.” list. When we become bothered by many worries and are cranky from the holiday stress, it’s time to do a RESET from the demands of the season by finding rest. Look up and embrace the peace and rest in the reason for the season—Jesus Christ, Emmanuel.

Top 10 Ways to Have the Best Holidays Ever

The holiday season will soon be upon us. And with it will come the hope that this one will be truly special.  However, many of us quickly get bogged down in busyness, stress, and old patterns. Here are 10 ways to turn that dynamic around and create the magic. 

1. Give yourself a break. Perfection—even perfect happiness—just isn’t possible. Let your best be good enough. Make a budget for both your time and your money—and stick to it. It really is the thought that counts. 

2. Make conscious decisions. Get clear about what you really want to do over the holidays before compromising with others. If you don’t have a clear plan and clear intentions, you might find yourself getting swept along by others’ desires. Even if you compromise later, get clear first.

3. Shorten your to-do list. What do the holidays mean to you? For many, it’s about family and friends and spirituality. If an item doesn’t add to your holiday spirit, scratch it off.  

4. Say no when you want to. It’s very liberating. Try it and see. It sounds simple, but too often obligation trumps desire. When faced with options, choose the one that would make you happier.

5. Limit obligatory activities. If you can’t avoid certain events, limit the time you’re there. 

6. Take good care of yourself. The old standards help keep stress at bay: eat healthfully, exercise, drink lots of water, and breathe deeply. Schedule time for relaxation and fun.

7. Start early. To avoid a last-minute frenzy that can bust your budget, start shopping or making presents now.

8. Ask for help. Reject any notion of martyrdom. The burden of preparations should not fall upon one person. The more specific you are in your request, the more successful you’ll be.

9. Establish new traditions. If you have experienced a major life-changing event, such as a death or divorce, consider doing something you’ve never done before over the holidays, such as travel to another country or take a cruise. 

10. Get support. If a glorious holiday season feels completely out of reach, you may experience the holiday blues. Many people do. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way. Reach out for the support you need.

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