There is an anxiety that comes with the Christmas Season that few of us can escape. Besides our everyday life experiences that may sometimes include unforeseen troubles, many of us undergo a period of great anxiety as we plan to spend festive time with family and friends and find creative ways to celebrate the holidays. There is also the anxious anticipation of giving gifts; the uncertainty if they will be appreciated, and of course there is the anxiety that follows the disappointment of not receiving the much “wanted” gift. We may also wonder if there will be enough food or will there be too much; will a favorite Christmas delicacy be absent from the Christmas experience. Then, when the Christmas experience is over, there is the preparation for New Year’s Eve, to celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of the New Year.
As you read this, you have already entered the New Year. The Christmas rush has ended, and a new year has come. Many of us are glad it’s over so that it becomes easier to focus on goals and resolutions for change. There may even be guilt because of giving way to various distractions that may not appear to complement our everyday values. The excessive eating, attending parties, less exercise, spending more money than usual on gifts, and food may have left a feeling of failure rather than a sense of fulfillment of the reason for the season of Christmas.
If you feel this way, I hope that you will be encouraged to remember that there are many situations or experiences that we encounter that we have little control over, if any at all. When it rains, we do our best to adapt to it. Adapting in this case usually means being at ease with getting a little wet. Even so, we keep going about our day until eventually the rain stops, and the weather becomes more favorable.
Interruptions from our more peaceful flow of life will happen whether it is during the Christmas season or any other time of the year. It is a normal part of life for these interruptions to occur but allowing them to become a part of our present-day experience is not a bad thing, but instead it is a part of our growth and humanity. As children we used to say: “Rain, rain go away, come again another day.” It rarely stopped so we had to learn to adapt to the circumstances.
Well, enough about the rain. I only wanted to use it as an example of one of the things that occurs in our life that we cannot control; something that breaks our routines which could result in anxiety or sadness. Yet, when placed in the right perspective, we can see it as temporary, and perhaps even necessary. One of my favorite stories in the New Testament Bible is the story of Jesus teaching and healing people while inside a house. Because it was so crowded around Him, a paralyzed man was lowered down to him by four men after they cut a hole in the roof (Mark 2:1-12). This was an unusual occurrence which interrupted the normal way of approaching Jesus, but the four men were committed to getting their friend to the one who could heal his illness; and Jesus was committed to healing all who came to Him. This is a good illustration of adapting to a situation and maintaining what is most important rather than giving in to despair because of unfavorable circumstances.
As in all of life, there will be turbulence that can easily interrupt our flow, or routines. Despite this, it does not mean our commitment to that which is most important is over. On the contrary, a commitment that is not challenged or interrupted negates the need for a commitment, instead it becomes more like a robotic exercise.
Therefore, for those of us who feel the Christmas holidays may have gotten us off track from our values and goals, being mindful of the interruptions is a part of being. It is only needed for us to continue towards our goals and values. Hopefully, as we move into this New Year, those goals, and values that we hold dear will manifest all the more as the rain gives way to desired sunshine. I hope you have a Blessed New Year.