Here in America, the holiday season has become almost synonymous with commerce. Stores begin decorating for Christmas and advertising for Black Friday as soon as Halloween is over. Every commercial, bus stop, and billboard are filled with things that we can consume whether it is a gadget to buy or a TV show to watch.
So, what can we do to keep our eyes focused on what matters most? How can we celebrate the holidays without getting swept away? Whether you are running all over this season or homebound, able bodied or dealing with disability, you can follow these three suggestions to shift your focus from consuming to giving.
- Practice Gratitude—Have you ever noticed how a grateful heart can almost eliminate complaining and comparison? If you find yourself struggling with a desire to spend more than you should or envying others for the blessings they have, pause and consider what you can be grateful for. It can be helpful to write it down or make a list. You might be grateful for a day of good health, kids who are happy, pain that forces you to depend on Christ, or the fact that the sun shines through your bedroom window in the morning. You can also think about the people in your life that you are grateful for—family, friends, colleagues, healthcare professionals, and more. You could even take time to write them a note letting them know how thankful you are for them.
- Engage in Giving—As many opportunities as we are given to buy things during this season, there are also many wonderful opportunities to give. You can give your time by volunteering, your love by serving others, and your resources by donating to nonprofits. Giving Tuesday is a great way to make a difference by giving rather than receiving. Joni and Friends, along with many other ministries, depends on the generosity of others during the holiday season to accomplish their ministry efforts.
- Strive to Glorify—The more enamored we are with Christ, the less impressed we are with the things of this world. Perhaps you could take time in the morning and evening each day to quiet your heart before God and focus your heart on Him. Praying and meditating on God’s Word will fill us with hope for what really matters, allowing the difficulties and strivings of our daily life to fall in line with an eternal perspective.
Avoiding the stress and craziness of the holidays does not mean becoming a Grinch or avoiding family gatherings. It simply means holding things loosely and keeping our perspective on what really matters. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, we pray that the Lord will bless you with deep peace and abiding joy!