When you think about family flying in, goodies and feeds to prepare, stretching the family budget to buy presents, church performances and parades to prepare, do you feel stressed or blessed?
A friend of mine said, “I don’t think all the activities we have around the holidays are stressful.
It’s something fun for everyone to do.”
Having witnessed other Christmas holidays in these islands, people truly do make “a joyful noise to the Lord” and “serve the Lord with gladness.” (Psalm 100).
Yet, there are stress traps to avoid during the Holy season.
Overdoing – Notice when you get so caught up in the spirit of the season that you exhaust yourself. Watch for signs such as irritability, loss of sleep, and nervous tension. Call on the virtue of Peace and pace yourself. Take breathers. Swim with a friend, watch the sunset, take a nap, delegate. Don’t try to do it all yourself.
Over-consuming – A local friend once said, “The one virtue we don’t have here is Moderation. We’re on a see food diet! We see it, we eat it!” So here’s a tip from the virtue that means “just enough”. Slow down and taste what you’re eating! Savor it. Stop between bites rather than devouring the pile on your plate. And start with a smaller pile. As for alcohol, most of the tragic accidents and eruptions of violence during the holiest time of year occur as a result of over-drinking. Think of moderation as your gift to God and to everyone around you. Besides you’ll have less weight to take off in the New Year.
Disappointed Expectations – Sometimes the dream of happy family life just isn’t happening. So as Ghandi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Be the blessing, the one who is cheerful, says a loving word, comforts a crying child, or offers an unexpected service without being asked.
Financial strain – Strange to say but Moderation in Generosity of gift giving can solve many problems, not only financial ones. Children can be spoiled by excess. Too much leads to a dangerous sense of entitlement. My parents had a Christmas practice to give each of us one “big” present, something we really wanted, and a few little ones. We were quite content with that.
Remember, Christmas is a holy day, not just a holiday, a time to let your virtues shine. “Ye are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Mathew 5:14 - 16.
YOU are the greatest gift to your family – you in a happy mood, you doing little acts of kindness, you setting an example of moderation, you making a joyful noise, not just on the Sabbath, but every day.
Come to the Virtues in Business morning tea, “Tis the Season for Virtues” Wednesday December 10 at Te Ipukarea Centre in Tupapa from 10am.