Expectation and anticipation build when the month of December returns each year. We begin to plan activities and events that celebrate life and bring people together. Promise and hope shimmer all around.

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Or not.

For too many, the past year has introduced confusion and heartache.

This wonderful time brings new (or old) gifts of loss, fear, and pain into our lives:

  • Loss of loved ones, jobs, dreams
  • Fear of the future, loneliness, illness
  • Pain of betrayal, isolation, misunderstanding

When we stand knee-deep in darkness, what can we do to find wonder in our world?

Whether we embrace the faith that rests on a Savior born to save the world, hold onto a different faith, or claim no faith, this is a wonderful season and we can experience a new measure of joy and peace.

Proceed with Caution

No matter your circumstances, this time of year brings on Stress!

The buzzing sound of busy permeates the month. I’ve heard it! :).

The to-do lists grow by leaps and bounds, road traffic clogs streets more than usual, store lines are longer, people sound snappier, and everyone’s patience stretchhhhhhhhhhes to thin limits.

In the midst of busy we often experience our loneliest times.

It might be tempting for us to eat, drink, or spend away our raw emotions, but we need to stay mindful about our decisions. Unwise choices carry the potential to make us feel worse about ourselves and our situations.

Positive Options

  • Eat healthy food in reasonable portions while enjoying some of the holiday treats
  • Limit alcohol consumption to avoid feeling worse (physically and emotionally)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Keep a watchful eye on $$$ spent (if I’m not careful, my over-exuberance to make myself feel better buying meaningful gifts for others can result in fearful debt)

Walk in Wonder

Self-awareness is vital to healthy, vibrant living. What steps can we take?

Know our limits – emotional, financial, physical. Recognize how much alone time is helpful. Have a plan in place for being with others.

I enjoy alone time but make myself recognize when I need to be around other people. Sometimes that means immersing myself in popular gathering places (mall, coffee shop).

More often I take extra time to intentionally plan activity with those who mean the most in my life. Meet for coffee, go to a museum, out for dinner, a funny movie, maybe a unique holiday activity or program that becomes a tradition we can count on year after year.

Go outside and appreciate the unique creation around us. Nature provides a place to experience the sights and sounds of a beautiful world. Take a walk with no distractions and listen to the delightful sounds. Feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. Walking will get your blood flowing and your mind will de-clutter as you get back to basics in life. Meditation and prayer are great exercises to include on your trip too.

Create space in this busy season to invest yourself in other lives. Are there friends near or far who need caring communication from you? Reach out with a card, text, or phone call. Is there a community volunteer opportunity? So often when I do something for someone in need it soothes my soul. This can be done through an organization or just reaching out to a neighbor who requires a little help. There are many small things we can do to assist others and to help us feel purpose-filled and not so alone.

The lights, sounds, smells, tastes, and general feel of the holiday season have the potential to brighten our spirits and help us grab onto hope for tomorrow.

Let’s take intentional steps forward to find the wonderful this time of the year!

(Do you have ideas about reaching out to those in need? Please share!)