Maintaining Balance During The Holidays
The holiday season has arrived and for many of us this means an abundance of activities and responsibilities. Amidst this holiday busyness of gifts, gatherings, and preparations, we often forget the joy of the holidays, and stress can take over. A few key reminders help keep our focus on what is truly important during this season.
Focusing on the true meaning.
Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
The true meaning of many sacred holy days, such as Christmas, has been diluted due to the influence of our culture and also our own tendency to get wrapped up in various activities and expectations. What better way to deal with the lack of balance during Christmas than to remember its true meaning? The birth of Jesus Christ the Son of God, coming to earth as a baby, fully human and fully divine, is indeed something to celebrate. Some key questions to consider:
- How does each holiday activity point back to the true meaning of the season?
- Ponder or journal: What is personally special about the Christmas season this year? What holiday memories are joyful?
Engaging in relationships.
Romans 12:5, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
God created us in His image as relational beings. His desire to have a personal relationship with us underscores how important relationships are to God. We may be surrounded by people all the time and yet still feel lonely or isolated, especially in busy and stressful times. Overcoming isolation involves being around people with whom we can reveal our true self, open up, and share. These relationships are characterized by authenticity, accountability, and genuineness. Healthy relationships will keep our hearts and minds balanced and grounded throughout our lives.
- What relationships in my life keep me grounded in my walk with Christ?
- Is there someone that I can make a special effort to invite or include in some holiday activity?
Giving to others.
Acts 20:35, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Giving gifts is common practice during the holidays. This process in itself can be a joy for some and yet a burden for others. Joy can be felt in showing gratitude and love to family and friends. At the same time, giving gifts may be a financial or time burden. We may accidentally get our focus off track by being so focused on wanting to find the “perfect” gift. Having a proper attitude is the key to both giving and receiving gifts.
Also, we may want to consider additional ways to maintain the gift-giving tradition while also remembering the less-fortunate. For instance, we can start a tradition of buying gifts for needy families or choosing a ministry to donate to instead of one of our gift-exchanges between friends or family. In such a fashion, we can extend the blessings of the season to others and teach important lessons to our children as well.
- Reflect on whether gift-giving is a joy or burden for you. What would it take to keep it a joy?
- Spend time as a family deciding if there is a ministry you would like to support during this holiday season.
Luke 2:19, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
Maintaining balance is a challenge in many of our lives. We should learn from Mary who kept and “pondered” the miracle of the birth of Christ. She realized at least a portion of the magnitude of the moment and guarded it. Many of us can become burned out due to difficulty in setting boundaries during busy seasons. A tendency to want to please everyone can exacerbate the problem and lead to unmet expectations. To minimize these possibilities this holiday season, decide and communicate early on how many activities/gatherings and how much traveling you and your family can participate in. Take time to consider the effect which your activities and busyness can likely have upon your family. Protecting several quiet and sacred moments that come your way is important. These moments can be critical in helping us to keep our focus and balance on what is truly important.
- Prayerfully consider, is there one activity that you need to say “no” to this holiday season in order to guard your relationship with your family?
- In what practical ways are you prioritizing your relationship with Christ in the midst of the holiday busyness?
The above are just a few strategies to consider during this holiday season. Use them to maintain balance and train our focus on that which is above. May the blessings of the season be a source of joy in your life, and may you share these blessings with those you love.
Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: and he shall save his people from their sins.”
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