On the radio yesterday, a DJ reported survey results. People said they would pay $250 to find Christmas joy – the kind they knew when they were kids. (Apparently, most people surveyed would also be willing to fork over $145 to have someone else wrap their gifts.) Now, I know many people hate gift-wrapping, but $250 for Christmas joy!?!?? Craziness.
I once knew a Jewish man who had tremendous Christmas spirit. When his three sons were very young, they had a devout faith in Santa Claus. They knew all about Santa’s generosity and good cheer, so naturally, they wondered if he would stop at their home come Christmas Eve.
To honor their own holiday traditions – while also sharing the spirit of the season – the man and his wife hatched plan. On Christmas Eve, the family did a little art project, and then the joyful father climbed out a window and onto his roof. As the little boys stood watching in their pajamas, their dad placed a decorated poster next to the chimney. It said:
Just a reminder: We are Jewish. You don’t need to stop here tonight. We wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Love, The Jacobs Family
Friends, this is the Christmas spirit. And it cost virtually nothing but time and love.
It demonstrates the largest Truth of season: It is NOT about us.
It IS about caring for others and spreading joy because we see that we ourselves have been loved.
But maybe you don’t feel joyful. Maybe you think you have nothing to celebrate because you’ve had a rough year or you’re not with the people you think make your holidays complete.
If that’s the case, try these three steps – now or starting tomorrow – to reignite your Christmas or holiday mojo.
1) Close your eyes and begin a mental gratitude statement. If you believe in a higher power – talk to that power. If not, imagine all of the people closest to your heart standing in front of you.
Express thanks for as many things as you can think of, starting with the immediate and going from there. “Thank you for the fact that I’m breathing. Thank you for my beating heart. Thank you for my hands and feet and brain and muscles and my capacity to feel the ground beneath me.”
Move out into your surroundings, the people in your life, counting each thing consciously and with the understanding that even the trials you face are building character in you. Be grateful for this. Be thankful for what you have learned. Don’t stop your list until you simply cannot go on anymore.
2) Get out of your head. Think of a holiday song you enjoy and sing it out loud. Whisper if you must, but verbalize the cheerfulness you’re starting to feel.
3) Decide that you will give every person you meet today a free gift: your smile. Look each one in the eye – especially the annoying, angry, impatient, or rude ones – and smile, with good intentions. Imagine the individual as he or she might have looked as a child. See each person’s vulnerability and humanness. Pray or simply ponder the following over them: Grant this person peace and comfort.
Why do I recommend these steps?
Because gratitude, hope, and generous actions yield joy.
And true Hope is not wishful thinking, but instead it is the firm expectation that something good will occur based on a pattern of goodness that is now present and has come before.
Hope is open to everyone.
Joy can be yours.
I pray you will find both – free and overflowing – this holiday season.