YOU are an incredible person with incredible potential. Rather than be trapped in the busyness of making everything perfect, or worrying about the what ifs, let’s look for opportunities to make memories! Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the moment. Make time to be in the Lord’s presence.
I know. It’s easy to lose perspective and be caught in focusing on what might go wrong, or worse, finding yourself all alone during these special times.
A wonderful antidote for anxiety, fear, or loneliness is to sing. Put on Bing Crosby and lift your voice in song. Better yet, put on Handel’s Messiah and lift your voice and heart in worship to our Beloved Lord Jesus.
Next, I have a creative activity that I’ve designed to help you connect to good memories from the past and prepare for the holidays.
Holiday Healing Art Activity
Step 1: Remember
What makes you smile when you think of these special times? What positive memory can you pull to the forefront of your mind and just enjoy?
- Take a few minutes and sit in appreciation with that.
- Think with gratitude of those people who make you smile.
- Think of a special Bible verse that makes you smile and brings you hope.
Step 2: Draw
While you are enjoying that moment, draw your memory. It won’t be a work of art, just a simple pencil or crayon drawing to reinforce your emotion of joy and connection, and validate something precious to you.
- Think about who or what made you feel loved or appreciated.
- How did their acceptance or love make you feel about yourself?
Key Takeaway: What filled you with joy or hope won’t be about performance, it will be about connection.
Step 3: Activate
Now, set realistic expectations. While being with family can be wonderful, it is also a time where stress levels increase. We tend to enter into the festivities with high expectations of being filled by others. Being with people means misunderstanding, hurt feelings – for we all are fragile. Try being curious about what blesses them.
- Write down what you normally go into the holidays expecting, e.g. feeling seen by your mom, having your dad accept you without criticism, feeling connected to your siblings, etc.
- Give these expectations to the Lord, and ask Him to help you interact with your family and friends without expecting their acceptance or approval.
- When you feel triggered, be curious about why their behavior triggers you.
- Make a plan for what you can do when you feel triggered, e.g. leaving the room, breathing, redirecting the conversation, limiting time with the person, etc.
A key thing to remember: You don’t have to be perfect to be loved or valuable. None of us is perfect. Be ready to pour grace – onto your family and onto yourself! Graciousness reduces friction and lowers stress levels.
Joy, Even When Spending the Holidays Alone
My first Christmas alone was in England. I felt desperately lonely. Having nothing to do but mope, I decided to go for a walk in the snow. My spirits lifted for it was like a fairy land. No one was about. Everything was quiet, muffled by the falling snow. I happened upon a little church and heard singing. I think they were startled to see a visitor, but I sat in the back and enjoyed the moment. On my way home to a solitary dinner, I lifted my voice and sang Christmas carols. That memory is one of the sweet highlights of my life.
Dear Heart, it’s possible to find joy even when we are hurting or afraid. Look up to Jesus!
You are loved with an everlasting love. Let the Lord tenderly draw you to Himself and comfort your heart. Look around! What you can be thankful for? Who can you bless?
These words of David blessed my heart, helped me look up to the Lord in appreciation and hope, and returned the smile to my face.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Psalm 103 NKJV