While many people are extremely elated to be back-to-back holidays with Thanksgiving and Christmas, we must be mindful that there are those who find these seasons highly stressful and even painful. Generally you find people happily celebrating these holidays with their families and partaking of a sumptuous home cooked meal prepared by those they love dearly. It is a social time to enjoy others company and reflect on memories and share and acknowledge blessings these holidays are supposed to represent. However, this is not always the case. Some may be rebounding from past deaths in their families or just general loneliness holidays may bring about.
Joyful times for one may be another’s time of pain, frustration, and loneliness. Therefore, we should make an extra effort to make sure no one is going through these holidays alone. If possible, invite a person or friend to share that day with you and your family—someone who may be alone and unable to be with their immediate family or loved ones. Make sure elderly and often-neglected individuals are contacted and offered the opportunity to share the holiday with you. Sometimes it may help to talk and incorporate memories of a past loved one and include them in casual conversation. A loved one is never truly gone until you stop talking about them or remembering them. The memories of those no longer here should be happy memories acknowledging the love and joy they generated in the lives of others while they were alive. If done right, it can be therapeutic and soothing.
There is also the economic stress the holidays can bring—especially if you lack the funds to appropriately enjoy the occasion. This may mean inadequate funds to make it home to your family or to be able to prepare the feast you really want, or the resources to provide gifts you would like to give them. Thus we find many overextending themselves financially to the point of frustration and anxiety. Going deeper into debt and spending money you don’t have, then spending the remainder of the year trying to play catch up doesn’t add up to a happy camper. Perhaps because an overall campaign is made to commercialize these holidays, the average person feels an obligation to provide material possessions to loved ones and friends as a sign of their affection. In all honesty, the spiritual connection is diluted and even lost.
The simplicity and beauty of the holiday is lost in trying to over compensate with material and worldly goods. The true beauty is the warmth and love of family and friends in celebrating the gift of life and realizing the love and abundant blessings of a non-failing benefactor. Without question, this should be the utmost priority during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Giving gifts within ones means may be commendable, but what is truly in the heart is immeasurable and priceless. True unadulterated love should trunk material goods any day. Unfortunately, this is a message that many of us fail to communicate. Let’s try eliminating man’s spin on the holidays to make money, and enjoy the true purpose of these holidays—celebrating and giving thanks for the mercy and grace of an awesome and omnipotent God. God is love and is manifested by us as we give and share the gifts, talents and resources he has provided. In helping others, we please God.