Monday, December 17, 2012

Mixed Feelings? One Minute Vacay: Dec. 17

The preparations heat up, and for many, Christmas is eagerly anticipated, but for others, mixed feelings throw a thick, gray cloud cover over the month.


Melancholy
Photo by 23am

Let's face it--not everyone enjoys the holidays. There are hearts that rip open every December. The onslaught of merry music sounds shrill, the endless Christmas miracles on television movies don't help, and there's a vague feeling of, shouldn't I be enjoying this more?

I understand. I've been there. Christmas usually brings me joy, but I've had years where I've gone through the motions, not quite knowing why the cheer skipped me that season.

Christmas magnifies how we feel life should be as opposed to how it really is.

So many people deal with broken families, sad memories of past Christmases, loneliness, tragedies, and depression. My heart goes out to all who want that "perfect Christmas" but for circumstances beyond their control, must settle for getting through Christmas.

Today's one-minute vacation is this:

It's okay to have mixed feelings.
It's okay to cringe at happy Christmas letters.
It's okay to not want to throw another five bucks into the charity-of-the-week collection at work.
It's okay to get McDonald's for dinner because you're too tired to make a meal.
It's okay to buy store-bought cookies.
It's okay to turn off the made-for-television Christmas movies and watch horror films.
It's okay not to donate a dollar as you check-out at stores.
It's okay to jam to sad songs instead of the Christmas music station.
It's okay to tell yourself "it's just 24 hours," when you're dreading a strained-extended family Christmas party.
It's okay to buy two boxes of chocolates for yourself.
It's okay to skip gift-wrapping and buy gift bags for every present.
It's okay if your kids get on your nerves within three hours of being out of school for Christmas vacation.

It's okay.

We do not live in a perfect world. It's full of sin and pain and hard things.

It's also full of people who want to help, who truly care, whose heart breaks at the thought of anyone being sad or alone at Christmas.

Let's not be too hard on ourselves this time of year.

It's okay.

Do you struggle with mixed feelings this time of year? How do you deal with them?

Have a fabulous Monday!

16 comments:

  1. You have no idea how much I needed this. Thank you!

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    1. We all do sometimes. I had a really tough Christmas season five or six years ago. The next Christmas I felt fine! It's just harder some years than others. :)

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  2. A very timely post, Jill. Good to know it's okay to be a Grinch.

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    1. It is. It's too hard to be "on" with the happiness all the time!

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  3. I think many people may find that to be true this Christmas especially, in light of what happened on Friday. But it means an opportunity, for those who can, to hold loved ones a little tighter, and embrace the season all the more. But you're right...so often we base everything on "feelings" and think there's something wrong with us if we don't "feel" the way we think we should.

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    1. So true, Lindsay. I'm so sad and disturbed about this growing trend toward terrorism in our country. It's hard to get excited and merry, knowing there are twenty sets of parents without their sweet babies, and countless others who loved and mourn these children too. More than ever, my face is turned toward Bethlehem.

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  4. Thank you for posting about a topic many people experience but are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about. I lost my mother two days before Christmas nine years ago, and despite the time that's passed, I still remember it as though it happened recently. Thanks for acknowledging that we don't have to show the Christmas cheer all the time.

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    1. Brandi, it's true--many people are embarrassed or ashamed that they don't share the all-out spirit of the season. It makes it harder now that we prepare for Christmas a full month in advance.

      I'm really sorry about your mom. Losing loved ones leaves a hollow spot nothing can fill, and when it happens around the holidays, it's tough. I hope you have found a special way to celebrate your mom at that time--something that brings a smile to your face. :)

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  5. My mixed feelings fall into the "too much to do" factor. I tried to cut down. I hardly bake at all. I guess with a growing family, there's just no way to cut back on some things. For the most part I enjoy it and wouldn't have it any other way.

    There have been seasons when I was lonely, but I was lucky because I always had a family to go home to.

    I hope in spite of all that goes on, your Christmas season is full of joy.

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    1. Ugh, I know! Sometimes I set expectations for myself that are just too high. This year, I didn't handwrite notes on each Christmas card--I sent a Christmas letter. Something had to give!

      And, thankfully, I'm having a lovely Christmas season so far. I'm sending your sweet sentiments right back to you! May it be filled with joy!

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  6. For our women's ministry in our church I spoke on how the world puts too much pressure on dumb things at Christmas and how perfect we have to make it. That's not what it's supposed to be about yet it's so easy to get hung up on them.

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    1. I would have loved to hear you speak, Jennifer. It's true. We put so much importance on having six cookie plates and the right gift and what-not--when all that really matters is we're forgiven. God sent us His son to live, die, and rise for us so we don't have to have all these worries!

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  7. Great post - thanks for the reminder that it's okay to struggle in the midst of all the holiday cheer.

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