Monday, December 19, 2011

Tears at Christmas

Many people experience depression at Christmas. Feeling depressed during the holidays is common for those who have lost a loved one during the year. Such a loss is keenly felt the first Christmas and for several years afterward. The fact that a loved one is not there cannot be ignored. Nor should it be. Allow sadness and tears to come. Each time you do so, you’re working through your grief further. Don’t dwell only on your loss, however. It’s OK to have happy, fun times during the holidays even though your loved one isn’t there.

Christmas depression is also common in dysfunctional families. Those who grew up in a home in which the holidays were chaotic may have a difficult time at Christmas until they resolve their childhood issues. It’s as though Christmas triggers an “anniversary reaction” to all the painful memories. To overcome this type of Christmas depression it’s important to face the inner pain. The root of the problem in dysfunctional families is often spiritual, so a renewal of faith and connection with a loving church group will help us grow beyond these issues.

Depression at Christmas is also common in seemingly ideal families. When this is true depression may be due to unrealistic expectations. Women often feel enormous responsibility to plan a PERFECT holiday for everyone else. We need to lower our expectations and accept the fact that no occasion is perfect.  We need to involve the whole family in the plans and chores. We need to do less so we can enjoy the holidays more. Remembering the “reason for the season” with participation in church celebrations will also help us let go of our worry and fretting.
Anyone with serious signs of depression such as difficulty sleeping, suicidal thoughts, and little energy, should seek professional counseling.  Brief counseling and medication can ease painful symptoms enabling you to enjoy this joyful season.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NAB



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

Are children stressed by Christmas preparations? No, they’re not, but often adults are. We need to learn from our children. The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Many of us have forgotten how to view the festivities with child-like enjoyment. Here are some child-like traits to cultivate during this Christmas season. These will give you a wonder-filled Christmas.
1. Stay in the present. When we worry we borrow trouble. Most of the things we worry about don’t happen. Children live in the present. Children know how to enjoy each moment as it comes.

2. Be playful. Instead of dreading gift wrapping, for example, make it an enjoyable experience. Create original ways to wrap the gifts. Pick paper or ribbons that will surprise or please the recipients of your gifts. Make it play rather than work.

3. Have fun! Laugh! Don’t be so serious about holiday plans. Instead, make a game out of all that you do. The average four year old laughs every four minutes. Look at life through the eyes of a child and you will feel joy and will a laugh a lot.

4. Anticipate the coming festivities with excitement. Remember how you looked forward to Christmas as a child. Children are eager and they anticipate the joy ahead.
5. Be a little silly as children often are. You can be responsible, do the things that need to be done but still, on occasion, be a little silly. Let loose and be unpredictable. Get rid of your schedule and flow with what’s enjoyable.
6. Develop child-like faith. The Christmas season is a special time of awe and wonder. Tune in to the miracle of life and the love of God. Enjoy Christmas events, specials on TV and inspiring worship. Be amazed by the greatest miracle of all, the incarnation - God as a new born babe.

“For unto us a child is born…” Isaiah 9:6

Blessings, Dottie